A Limited Defense Treaty with the U.S. Would Be Counterproductive

(Israel Hayom) Brig.-Gen. (res.) Jacob Nagel - A "limited defense treaty" between the U.S. and Israel as part of a normalization agreement with Saudi Arabia contains many more cons than pros, especially when it might come at the expense of Israel's top priority concern: preventing an Iran nuclear bomb. According to published reports, Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer's recent meetings in Washington discussed such a "limited defense treaty." By raising a need for a treaty, Israel is conveying the message that it lacks confidence in its power and capability to defend itself by itself. A hostile president, in the future, could exploit the treaty against Israel. No matter what wording will be used, it will break the historical unwritten understanding that Israel does not want American soldiers coming to its rescue and dying on Israeli soil. Moreover, there is no such thing as a "limited treaty." Iran is going to behave aggressively in the region, with or without a treaty. American support for what Israel really needs exists without a treaty. Signing a treaty can only undermine U.S. support on key issues, on the grounds that if there is a treaty they are no longer needed, or at least they can be reduced and weakened: No need for a broader and longer new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU); no need for a better Qualitative Military Edge (QME); no need for a wider and sophisticated deployment of U.S. weapons systems in Israel; no need for wider and much more sensitive R&D and technology cooperation. The writer, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, is a former Israeli national security adviser to the prime minister and head of Israel's National Security Council.

2023-08-21 00:00:00

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