NEAR EAST REPORT AIPAC'S BIWEEKLY ON AMERICAN MIDDLE EAST POLICY

Editorial: The United States Must Stand By Its Ally Israel

Turmoil has engulfed the Middle East and Israel is under siege. Now more than ever, Israel needs the United States to send a message—in word and deed—that it will stand by the Jewish state and protect American interests.

In the past month alone, Israel has endured repeated terrorist attacks, threats to its international legitimacy and attempts to undermine its national security. Eight Israelis were killed on August 18 when terrorists from Egypt launched attacks near the southern city of Eilat. In the week following the attacks, more than 200 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli towns and communities. Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador on September 2 following a U.N. report that justified Israel’s blockade of Gaza. The Turkish Prime Minister announced on September 8 that any future Gaza flotillas would be escorted by naval ships—raising the prospects of war in the eastern Mediterranean. On September 9, thousands of Egyptians descended on the Israeli embassy in Cairo, forcing the entire Israeli diplomatic mission to evacuate. Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas remains committed to seeking recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations on September 23 despite American efforts to restart the stalled negotiations. Abbas has also called for massive protests in the West Bank and throughout the Arab world in support of Palestinian statehood and to condemn Israel.

Never has it been so imperative that the United States publicly reiterate its commitment to stand with Israel. It must be made clear that when you threaten Israel, you threaten the United States. The hostile, anti-Israel events that have ensued over the past month are not in America’s interest. Attacking an American ally is not in America’s interest. Threatening war against an American ally in the eastern Mediterranean is not in America’s interest. And massing hundreds of thousands of citizens to march to the borders of an American ally is not in America’s interest.

The chaos that is unfolding in the Middle East does not lend itself to American patience but rather American leadership. We must restate our unshakeable commitment to Israel and the shared interests and values that define our alliance. Only through our strong words, and subsequent actions, will the message ring through to the governments and people of the Middle East that America’s interests will be defended, strengthened and secured. BACK TO TOP