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Israel-United States Relations: Special Relations, and what is next?

Israel-United States Relations: Special Relations, and what is next?

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Published by JerusalemInstitute
The special relations between the United States and Israel are the most important political & security assets that Israel holds in the international sphere. These relations, which were formed after the Six-Day War, assisted Israel in promoting its political and security goals in both the Middle Eastern and the International systems.
The special relations between the United States and Israel are the most important political & security assets that Israel holds in the international sphere. These relations, which were formed after the Six-Day War, assisted Israel in promoting its political and security goals in both the Middle Eastern and the International systems.

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Published by: JerusalemInstitute on Jun 27, 2011
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Israel- United States Relations: Special Relations, and What Is Next?Prof. Yaacov Bar-Siman-Tov
Department of International RelationsThe Hebrew University & The Jerusalem Institute for Israel StudiesPrepared for the President's Conference 
Introduction
The special relations between the United States and Israel are the most importantpolitical & security assets that Israel holds in the international sphere. These relations,which were formed after the Six-Day War, assisted Israel in promoting its politicaland security goals in both the Middle Eastern and the International systems. Israel hasa major interest in not only preserving these relations, but also in promoting them asmuch as possible. The essentiality of the special relations is substantial particularly atthis era in which Israel is kept in international exclusion. The continuity of theprevious USA support for Israel at the same level and scope is needed in order to facethe de-legitimacy processes of the Israeli policy and even of the State of Israel indifferent circles of the international system.USA support of Israel and the promotion of the special relations are notnecessarily automatic and are also dependent on the Israeli peace policy mainly in thecontext of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. During the chairmanship of Barak Obamaand the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, in the past two years thespecial relations between Israel and the USA fell into a crisis over the promotion of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Although the specials relations grew in thestrategic-security field during this period, the peace process field of the specialrelations was harmed due to lack of agreement between the two states over the
 
 solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while the dispute over the settlements issuewas the most prominent.This crisis has taken place after 16 years of continuous growth in the specialrelations during the presidency period of Bill Clinton and George Bush (Jr.), andIsraeli prime ministers: Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon andEhud Olmert. The Israeli policy in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is also at the centerof the Israeli relations with the Jewish community in the United States, and thetendency to doubt the Israeli policy in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is growing in theliberal circles of the said Jewish community, so that it is no longer willing toautomatically support the Israeli policy.This paper aims to characterize the relations between the USA and Israel as specialrelations and to explain its sources, as well as to focus on the characteristics of theserelations in the context of the peace process, and to point out the importance of amendment of the special relations in a peace process.Defining the USA-Israeli relations as special relationsThe definition of relations between two states as special is meant toindividualize and separate them from ordinary relations between states. Theappearance of this term is rare and uncommon in the field of foreign relations,especially when it comes to relations between a superpower and a small state.Defining the special relations between the USA and Israel determines that USA andIsrael have a unique partnership, which entirely differs from the other relations of the
 
 two states with other world countries. The two parties share political, ideological,strategic and security interests which can be called “a commonwealth of sharedinterests”, alongside with values, principles and common norms which can be called“a commonwealth of shared values”. The special relations between the USA as apowerful country and Israel as a small state have no match in the international sphere.This is indeed a rare case in international modern history. Both sides give enormoussignificance to the relations and work for their nurturing, empowerment andcontinuity. These relations include a high leveled friendship, sympathy, trust and aclose, intensive political and security cooperation. Each side has a unique position inthe domestic and foreign policy of the other. The special relations are not limited toleaders and policy makers alone, but include both friend-states fully, and insure theircontinuity and survival ability even at times of crisis between the two states. Therelations are based on mutuality which is beneficial to both states. USA providesIsrael political, military and economic assistance in large and continuant scales.Israel sees the USA interests in shaping its foreign policy as highly important, andit shows the USA great loyalty as it tends to answer its requests and works forpromoting USA interests as well as its own. Between the years 1948 and 2010 Israelreceived directly over 110 billion dollars from the USA, military and economicassistance. Since 1985 all assistance was given as grant. Israel is the top assistancerecipient of the USA. Despite this fact, the special relations were never given a formalstatus of a military and political treaty.
The sources of the special relations
Two main sources or foundations to these special relations can be pointed out.One is “soft” and the other is “hard”. The soft sources of the relations are the common

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