There are four crucial issues that must be addressed by any incoming U.S. administration, from the point of view of the American commitment to Israel’s security.
- Strengthening the U.S.-Israel alliance as a stabilizing factor in the Middle East
The bond between the United States and Israel, especially in the security realm, is remarkable and must remain so. Israel is the closest American ally in the Middle East, and this extraordinary relationship benefits the shared values and interests of both nations. The attributes of this special relationship should be reflected in growing security cooperation and in a regional policy that strengthens the moderate camp in the Middle East that commits to peace with Israel while maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge.
America’s and Israel’s technological advantage should be advanced through this alliance, which contributes to their leadership in innovation in the next generation as it has done in the current one. The main joint programs at present are military, but there is a need for enhanced cooperation in the fields of science and technology.
- Dealing firmly with Iran’s aggression and nuclear plans
Iran, the main state sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East, is utilizing proxies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen in order to control these countries and spread its extremist ideology. Iran also continues to enrich uranium, and is getting closer every day to being able to develop and manufacture nuclear weapons. If it succeeds, it could pose an existential threat to all of its neighbors in the region and will create a nuclear-arms race that endangers the entire world.
It must be stopped by any means necessary. Lifting the sanctions imposed on the regime and re-entering the dangerous Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the JCPOA, more commonly referred to as the Iran nuclear deal) may again pave a safe path for Tehran to acquire a large arsenal of nuclear weapons and enable it to launch attacks in and destabilize the Middle East.
- Adopting the “Peace to Prosperity” plan as the basis for future negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and promoting the Abraham Accords
The “Peace to Prosperity” plan has proven that it can bring Israel and the Arab states together. Since the presentation of the plan at the end of January, two such states—the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain—have signed peace treaties with Israel, and a third, Sudan, has agreed to normalize relations with it. This is obviously just the beginning, as other Arab and Muslim-majority countries have indicated.
While the plan addresses Israel’s most basic security and national concerns, it also provides for Palestinian statehood, on condition that the Palestinians choose to abandon the path of terror and incitement. There is no cause for despair at the Palestinian Authority’s rejection of the plan. Hopefully, a new generation of leaders will emerge who will follow the peace route.
One of the plan’s pillars is respecting Israel’s crucial security principle of protecting itself by itself. It is and should remain a joint Israel-U.S. interest for Israel to have secure and defensible borders, such as the Jordan Valley, that are protected solely by the Israel Defense Forces, with the backing of Israeli communities in the area.
It is imperative for the incoming American administration to further cement the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the eternal and undivided capital of Israel; to keep the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem; to respect Israel’s sovereignty in the Golan Heights; and to recognize its right and security requirement to apply sovereignty along the Jordan Valley and extend it to all the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria when the time is ripe. A strong Israel is key to stability and prosperity in the Middle East. It ensures that the United States has a reliable ally to count on in times of need.
It is also of the utmost importance for the next administration in Washington to continue promoting the Abraham Accords—to intensify the wave of peace and normalization of relations between the Arab states and Israel, for the benefit of all those who seek peace, security and prosperity. It is also necessary to leverage the Abraham Accords to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians, based upon the principles put forward in the U.S. vision for peace and prosperity, and to show zero tolerance for terrorism, including the P.A.’s “pay for slay” program and its incitement to hatred and violence.
- Restraining Turkey’s destabilizing ambitions
In an attempt to restore the glory of the Ottoman Empire and spread extremist Islamic ideology, Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been following an ambitious policy of intervention in the Mideast, which includes supporting the Hamas terror organization and other radical Islamist groups. The United States has to lead the effort to restrain this destabilizing attitude.
Whatever the results of the U.S. presidential election, the friendship and alliance between Washington and Jerusalem should continue.
IDF Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Amir Avivi is the founder and CEO of Habithonistim–Protectors of Israel.