Supporting a Saudi-U.S. Defense Pact; Rejecting Nuclearization

(Israel Hayom) Meir Ben Shabbat - Israel should not be opposed to a U.S.-Saudi defense alliance. Jerusalem has a vested interest in bolstering the U.S. commitment to its allies in the region, and therefore it should support such a development. As for providing advanced U.S. weapon systems to Saudi Arabia, Israel should condition its support on having Washington take steps to cement its qualitative edge. There is a big dilemma when it comes to Saudi Arabia's demand for U.S. support in setting up a civilian nuclear program, which would include the ability to enrich uranium. Proposals will be put forward for various arrangements that would ensure that the U.S. keeps control over a Saudi nuclear program in a way that would prevent it from having military dimensions. But it would not be enough to assuage Israel's fears or prevent a nuclear arms race in the region. As for the Palestinian issue, this could result in Israel being asked to make concessions that it cannot realistically make. The main criteria under which Israel has to formulate its stand is reversibility: Israel must not agree to concessions that are irreversible (or that the price of reversing them is too steep). The more the proposed draft of a U.S.-Israel defense pact bolsters Israel's deterrence, guarantees its freedom of operation and its ability to defend itself by itself while increasing the U.S. commitment to bolstering Israeli military capabilities and its qualitative edge, and if it all deepens the bipartisan commitment toward the Jewish state, then the Israeli stance will lean more toward a "yes." The writer, head of the Misgav Institute for National Security & Zionist Strategy, served as Israel's national security advisor and head of the National Security Council after 30 years in the Israel Security Agency.

2023-09-26 00:00:00

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