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Trump Floats Possible Defense Treaty Days Ahead Of Israeli Elections


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Trump floats possible defense treaty days ahead of Israeli elections
by Reuters
Saturday, 14 September 2019 17:42 GMT

By Alexandra Alper

WASHINGTON, Sept 14 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday he had spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about a possible mutual defense treaty between the two nations, a move that could bolster Netanyahu's re-election bid just days before Israelis go to the polls.

"I had a call today with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss the possibility of moving forward with a Mutual Defense Treaty, between the United States and Israel, that would further anchor the tremendous alliance between our two countries," Trump said on Twitter.

He added that he looked forward to continuing those discussions later this month on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session in New York.

Netanyahu thanked Trump, saying in a tweet that Israel "has never had a greater friend in the White House," and adding that he looked forward to meeting at the U.N. "to advance a historic Defense Treaty between the United States and Israel."

The timing of Trump's tweet, just days before Israel's election on Tuesday, appeared aimed at buttressing Netanyahu's bid to remain in power by showcasing his close ties to Trump.

Opinion polls predict a close race, five months after an inconclusive election in which Netanyahu declared himself the winner but failed to put together a coalition government.

Netanyahu's Likud party is running neck-and-neck with the centrist Blue and White party led by former armed forces chief Benny Gantz, who has focused heavily on looming corruption charges Netanyahu faces.

In a televised interview with Israel's Channel 12 later on Saturday, Netanyahu made a direct appeal to voters based on the treaty. "I'm going to get us a defence pact that will provide us with security for centuries but for that I need your votes," he said.

Trump previously bolstered Netanyahu's candidacy when he recognized Israel's claim of sovereignty over the Golan Heights ahead of the elections earlier this year.

Some Israeli officials have promoted the idea of building on Netanyahu's strong ties to the Trump administration by forging a new defense treaty with the United States, focused especially on guarantees of assistance in any conflict with Iran.

Trump provided no details, but a mutual defense treaty could obligate the United States to come to Israel's defense if it is attacked.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said earlier this month that a pact should apply to "defined issues – nuclear threats and the matter of long-range missiles aimed by Iran at Israel."

"We have means of offense and defense, but this would spare us the need to earmark enormous resources on a permanent basis and for the long-term in the face of such threats," Katz told Israel's Ynet TV.

Netanyahu's chief rival Gantz assailed the idea as a "grave mistake", arguing it would strip Israel of military autonomy.

"This is not what we want," the centrist candidate told a conference in Jerusalem. "We have never asked anyone to get killed for us. We have never asked anyone to fight for us. And we have never asked anyone anyone's permission to defend the State of Israel." (Reporting by Alex Alper in Washington; Additional reporting by Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem and Tim Ahmann and Matt Spetalnick in Washington; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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About time.

The relationship between the US and Israel is one based on the same ideological principles that bind the whole west together, and is given high priority in both these countries because of the necessity-driven security cooperation.

 

Yet, despite the uniquely high level of cooperation, there is a unique lack of treaty that would formalize the status of relations.

 

It's just a shame that it's being politicized to the level of electioneering stunt.

Edited by Mighty_Zuk
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Russian and American collusion! :D

 

My first thought was that this doesn't necessarily qualify as a campaign gift if it means Israel should deploy troops to Central Asia after the next major terror attack on the US, then get trashed for not pulling its weight. Seems there are some Israeli voices with similar apprehensions.

 

Trump discussed 'Mutual Defense Treaty' with Netanyahu

Trump’s preelection gift to Netanyahu: the two will discuss mutual defense treaty later this month
By Herb Keinon / September 15, 2019 08:03
It wasn’t akin to the US recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, but on Saturday US President Trump extended a preelection gesture to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he tweeted that he would meet the prime minister later this month and discuss an Israel-US security pact.
[...]
While some analysts view such a treaty as a significant diplomatic achievement, others say such a pact could limit Israel’s operational freedom.

Former head of Military Intelligence Amos Yadlin, who now leads the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv, tweeted that raising the issue now is “clearly election propaganda that has not matured into a coherent policy,” either in Washington or Jerusalem.

Yadlin said that while such a pact would strengthen Israel’s deterrence, “its costs outweigh the benefits.”

Yadlin wrote that in the past, the issue has been raised and then dropped from the agenda for a number of reasons, including:

• Preserving the IDF’s freedom of action without needing to ask for US permission to act.

• Preserving ambiguity about “special [nuclear] capabilities” attributed to Israel.

• Harming Israel’s basic defense principle that it will “defend itself by itself.”

• Keeping the IDF as a force that protects the homeland, and does not engage in expeditionary wars around the world.

“In conclusion,” Yadlin tweeted, “This is a very serious issue that needs deep discussion, and not something pulled out on the eve of elections without the public understanding in detail its significance.”

On the other side of the issue, one of the organizations that has been pushing for such a pact – through a limited one – is the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA).

The organization issued a report in July saying that the primary purpose of such a mutual defense pact “is to add an extra layer of deterrence to Israel’s strategic position, and to America’s position in the Middle East, and ultimately a last line of defense.”

The paper said that unlike the other defense treaties the US has with some 50 other countries, this one should be narrow and “cover only a defined set of exceptional circumstances that would place either country in extreme peril.”

These circumstances, according to the paper, would include the threat or use of weapons of mass destruction; major armed attack by a powerful regional or global power, or coalition of powers; an assault threatening vital lines of air and sea communication; an attack undermining Israel’s qualitative military edge; or an urgent request from either government.

 

https://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Trump-discussed-Mutual-Defense-Treaty-between-Israel-US-with-Netanyahu-601653

Edited by BansheeOne
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About time.

The relationship between the US and Israel is one based on the same ideological principles that bind the whole west together, and is given high priority in both these countries because of the necessity-driven security cooperation.

 

Yet, despite the uniquely high level of cooperation, there is a unique lack of treaty that would formalize the status of relations.

 

It's just a shame that it's being politicized to the level of electioneering stunt.

 

A bad idea, when the next Democrat President will do his/her outmost to undo Trump's work.

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Well, pacta sunt servanda (unless you quitta). I don't think Republican or Democratic administrations would make a difference once this was in place, since pro-Israeli sentiment runs widely across both parties; Obama was probably the most Israel-critical president since Eisenhower, yet gave them another all-time high of military aid. I'd be more worried that with the recent populist streak in US politics, formalizing the alliance would actually erode that bi-partisan support over time as Israel becomes just another ally for some candidate of either party to seize on over living safely on the American dime, as noted above. Particularly if the treaty was so tailored to the Israeli interests as suggested by JINSA per the JP article I posted.

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Strange situation whern both USA and Russia are promoting the same man to Israel PM position

http://www.tank-net.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=39684&p=1447991

Israel is in a position where it can and needs to guide between various interests of regional players. Netanyahu shows strength to his foes, and goes a great length to strengthen his relations with all relevant powers and their respective leaders - USA, Russia, and India.

 

But perhaps more importantly, those leaders, and most world leaders, know Netanyahu very well, and if he's replaced then they'll be dealing with a man who's halfway a wildcard.

It's why the west and Israel quickly warmed to the idea of keeping Assad in power - better deal with a well known evil than an unknown lesser evil.

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Ah yes, we know that kind of alliance. Rinse and repeat.

 

One wonders if it will make the US subject to support the next Israeli foray into Lebanon? I wonder if he stopped to think about that one?

The parameters are not known. Israel wanted to join NATO in the past, knowing very well that the treaty only applies to future conflicts, and that Article 5 won't apply to the Israeli-Arab conflict.

 

Basically Israel only wanted to join to SEND troops, not accept foreign support, perhaps to create an image for its regional foes that its strength has grown to a point where it can allow itself to deploy far overseas. It's a good deterrent, and in addition it's a reminder to European states of their friendship and alliance with Israel, at a time when anti-Israel political forces are trying to portray Israel as a state that takes but doesn't give.

 

Israel already sent ground troops to Europe for various exercises in recent months.

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Israel already punches far above its weight. The UK is still trying to figure out if it even needs to have any military at all. In Poland ball sense, Israel is our younger former british colony sibling that we’ve always looked after. meanwhile Dad (UK) can’t decide if he wants to leave the nursing home or not to go out to a football game let alone more serious stuff like get into a barfight. at this point we’re worried he’ll break a hip if he gets into another spat with Argentina Ball.

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I was ignorant and did not understand the ramifications of such a treaty when I first commented here.

If the case Yadlin raised is applicable here, and indeed it is a mutual defense treaty, then it should be rejected by both sides.

 

The Israeli government should not allow any foreign nation to deploy combat troops in Israel, with the exception of combat support units (e.g air defense), and units that are directly beneficial to said state's defense (e.g early warning).

We should, however, still offer assistance when the other party seeks it.

 

For me, that principle sits above all else.

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Israel already punches far above its weight. The UK is still trying to figure out if it even needs to have any military at all. In Poland ball sense, Israel is our younger former british colony sibling that we’ve always looked after. meanwhile Dad (UK) can’t decide if he wants to leave the nursing home or not to go out to a football game let alone more serious stuff like get into a barfight. at this point we’re worried he’ll break a hip if he gets into another spat with Argentina Ball.

 

It would be rather more accurate to say we want a military, the politicians have not figured out whether to be a leading role or a bit player like all the other Europeans are. Something of a conflict with how we envisage our position to be post Brexit.

 

We have been in that position since the end of WW2 to be fair. The mantra 'punching above our weight' is nothing new. I think it may have started with Harold Wilson.

 

Israel does not punch above its weight. Regionally, for itself, yes it does. For America, what precisely has it done militarily for the US since staying out of the 1991 Iraq war? Nothing. If the intelligence trawl from it was anywhere near what it gets from the UK. we would probably shut down RAF Troodos tomorrow and welcome the saving.

 

In the war on terror, Israel has not lifted a finger a jot to help the US. Yet they get all the plaudits, and the Europeans who have done all the bleeding get the order of the Purple Raspberry. I dont blame Israel for standing out, im just suggesting the US position on this absolutely doesnt make sense.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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I was ignorant and did not understand the ramifications of such a treaty when I first commented here.

If the case Yadlin raised is applicable here, and indeed it is a mutual defense treaty, then it should be rejected by both sides.

 

The Israeli government should not allow any foreign nation to deploy combat troops in Israel, with the exception of combat support units (e.g air defense), and units that are directly beneficial to said state's defense (e.g early warning).

We should, however, still offer assistance when the other party seeks it.

 

For me, that principle sits above all else.

 

It looks like a political stunt by Trump to make a Left/Right issue out of Israel for the 2020 elections.

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Israel already punches far above its weight. The UK is still trying to figure out if it even needs to have any military at all. In Poland ball sense, Israel is our younger former british colony sibling that weve always looked after. meanwhile Dad (UK) cant decide if he wants to leave the nursing home or not to go out to a football game let alone more serious stuff like get into a barfight. at this point were worried hell break a hip if he gets into another spat with Argentina Ball.

It would be rather more accurate to say we want a military, the politicians have not figured out whether to be a leading role or a bit player like all the other Europeans are. Something of a conflict with how we envisage our position to be post Brexit.

 

We have been in that position since the end of WW2 to be fair. The mantra 'punching above our weight' is nothing new. I think it may have started with Harold Wilson.

 

Israel does not punch above its weight. Regionally, for itself, yes it does. For America, what precisely has it done militarily for the US since staying out of the 1991 Iraq war? Nothing. If the intelligence trawl from it was anywhere near what it gets from the UK. we would probably shut down RAF Troodos tomorrow and welcome the saving.

 

In the war on terror, Israel has not lifted a finger a jot to help the US. Yet they get all the plaudits, and the Europeans who have done all the bleeding get the order of the Purple Raspberry. I dont blame Israel for standing out, im just suggesting the US position on this absolutely doesnt make sense.

Quite a few misconceptions. The UK's massive reduction in ground fighting capability and outright neglect of the remainder of the ground forces, started long before anyone even thought about a Brexit.

 

Actually now we see a lot of renewed attention for the ground forces, while the navy and AF are not getting weaker.

 

So it'a fair to doubt Brexit's role. I would not credit Brexit for this shift in priorities either, as it so far seems disconnected. I believe it may only be connected with the Tempest.

 

 

You're also wrong on numerous accounts about Israel's supposed role.

 

First, although the US may benefit from the UK more in terms of intelligence, by sheer volume, that does not mean the US does not benefit tremendously from Israel.

There's hardly any place for comparison when the UK and Israel are so far apart, and it's safe to say the UK does not come even close to Israel in the volume of transferred data relating to middle east affairs.

 

Second, Israel indeed did not participate in the NATO led coalitions, primarily because those are NATO missions and NATO did not accept Israel's entry requests.

 

But if you think Israel is anywhere but the frontline of the war on terror, then you're sorely mistaken.

 

How many missions did the UK have in the middle east?

 

It had the war in Afghanistan, where it occupied territory and conducted peace keeping operation until 2014.

 

It had the war in Iraq, where it similarly occupied territory and conducted peace keeping operations until 2009.

It returned in a very limited force, barely an SoF operation, in 2014 to pick off ISIS HVTs.

 

And it also has various missions under the UN. That's it.

 

Israel, during that time, fought at least 3-4 times as many wars in Gaza and J&S.

It also had 2 wars in Lebanon (one of them in 1982 when the war on terror had only begun).

 

And now it conducts operations against Iranian terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq.

 

Or should I understand from you that PLO, Hezbollah, Fatah, Hamas, PIJ, PFLP, DFLP, IRGC, PMU, ISIS, and whatever Iran also has, are NOT terrorists, but the Taliban and some rogue Iraqi civilians are the big terrorist entities?

 

I see that right now Israel is bombing a whole lot of different terrorist groups across the middle east. How is the UK contributing at the moment to the war on terror?

 

Imagine a middle east without Israel... you'd probably see a big Warsaw-pact era red bloc, including Saudi Arabia. And maybe half a dozen US Army bases in Israel to deal with local terrorists, just as it has in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

It's also nice of you to say you've done all the bleeding, when the war on terror had claimed many thousands of Israeli lives.

Edited by Mighty_Zuk
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Yes, I think that's the general sketch, that the US will attack Iran in response to this or another provocation, then Iran will counterattack Israel with its missile forces, and also attack the Gulf States that supported the US. The attack into Saudi Arabia signals that Israeli targets are in range of precision cruise weapons. Israel can go after Iranian nuclear facilities, but the USAF will already have them covered.

 

OTOH, everyone has been pretty bullish about the Israeli/US chances in the Middle East, so the war should be over by Yom Kippur right? Just maybe not YK 2020, that's all...

Edited by glenn239
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Israel already punches far above its weight. The UK is still trying to figure out if it even needs to have any military at all. In Poland ball sense, Israel is our younger former british colony sibling that weve always looked after. meanwhile Dad (UK) cant decide if he wants to leave the nursing home or not to go out to a football game let alone more serious stuff like get into a barfight. at this point were worried hell break a hip if he gets into another spat with Argentina Ball.


It would be rather more accurate to say we want a military, the politicians have not figured out whether to be a leading role or a bit player like all the other Europeans are. Something of a conflict with how we envisage our position to be post Brexit.

We have been in that position since the end of WW2 to be fair. The mantra 'punching above our weight' is nothing new. I think it may have started with Harold Wilson.

Israel does not punch above its weight. Regionally, for itself, yes it does. For America, what precisely has it done militarily for the US since staying out of the 1991 Iraq war? Nothing. If the intelligence trawl from it was anywhere near what it gets from the UK. we would probably shut down RAF Troodos tomorrow and welcome the saving.

In the war on terror, Israel has not lifted a finger a jot to help the US. Yet they get all the plaudits, and the Europeans who have done all the bleeding get the order of the Purple Raspberry. I dont blame Israel for standing out, im just suggesting the US position on this absolutely doesnt make sense.
Quite a few misconceptions. The UK's massive reduction in ground fighting capability and outright neglect of the remainder of the ground forces, started long before anyone even thought about a Brexit.

Actually now we see a lot of renewed attention for the ground forces, while the navy and AF are not getting weaker.

So it'a fair to doubt Brexit's role. I would not credit Brexit for this shift in priorities either, as it so far seems disconnected. I believe it may only be connected with the Tempest.


You're also wrong on numerous accounts about Israel's supposed role.

First, although the US may benefit from the UK more in terms of intelligence, by sheer volume, that does not mean the US does not benefit tremendously from Israel.
There's hardly any place for comparison when the UK and Israel are so far apart, and it's safe to say the UK does not come even close to Israel in the volume of transferred data relating to middle east affairs.

Second, Israel indeed did not participate in the NATO led coalitions, primarily because those are NATO missions and NATO did not accept Israel's entry requests.

But if you think Israel is anywhere but the frontline of the war on terror, then you're sorely mistaken.

How many missions did the UK have in the middle east?

It had the war in Afghanistan, where it occupied territory and conducted peace keeping operation until 2014.

It had the war in Iraq, where it similarly occupied territory and conducted peace keeping operations until 2009.
It returned in a very limited force, barely an SoF operation, in 2014 to pick off ISIS HVTs.

And it also has various missions under the UN. That's it.

Israel, during that time, fought at least 3-4 times as many wars in Gaza and J&S.
It also had 2 wars in Lebanon (one of them in 1982 when the war on terror had only begun).

And now it conducts operations against Iranian terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq.

Or should I understand from you that PLO, Hezbollah, Fatah, Hamas, PIJ, PFLP, DFLP, IRGC, PMU, ISIS, and whatever Iran also has, are NOT terrorists, but the Taliban and some rogue Iraqi civilians are the big terrorist entities?

I see that right now Israel is bombing a whole lot of different terrorist groups across the middle east. How is the UK contributing at the moment to the war on terror?

Imagine a middle east without Israel... you'd probably see a big Warsaw-pact era red bloc, including Saudi Arabia. And maybe half a dozen US Army bases in Israel to deal with local terrorists, just as it has in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It's also nice of you to say you've done all the bleeding, when the war on terror had claimed many thousands of Israeli lives.

 

I was using the quote boxes so this would be easier to pick through, but the Tanknet server threw a benny and ive had to do it like this. Its in order though, so I hope you can pick up on the answers to your points.

 

 

Ive no disagreement, but the army is still shrinking. There are also manning problems in the RAF and to a lesser extent the Navy as well. They were having to get guys approaching retirement to fill out the ranks of the QE. That is before we get onto the point about aging equipment.

 

Well im not really am I? I mean no disrespect to Israel or the IDF, but even Montenegro lost more servicemen fighting in Afghanistan than Israel. Granted there were practical reasons why Israel could not participate. But im not the US president trying to inflate the importance of Israel in the war on terror. There may be good reasons for this, but team player it is not and never has been. The last alliance im aware Israel undertook was for the 1956 Suez Campaign.

 

RAF Troodos. Its so high up, its even been hacking drone feeds from IDF drones.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-britain-spied-on-idf-drone-operations-for-years/

 

Then where is it? OK, so it does a good job of busting Hamas, but its done very little in the war against ISIS that I can see.

 

Im sorry, I dont understand the question. Air Missions, ground missions? Think of me as greatly obtuse and you wont go far wrong.

 

Actually we still have troops in Afghanistan to this day in a training role We also have SF in Syria, if the loss of a British soldier with the American SF community to friendly fire is any guide.

 

If you have evidence they have undertaken significant actions against ISIS, then I for one am happy to be corrected.

 

If we are going to go that far back, I can bring in the UK peacekeeping mission in Cyprus since 1974, the UK Peacekeeping effort in Beiruit in 1982, and both the 1991 and 2003 Iraq wars. I seem to recall Israel had some nice things to say about the British SF community for stopping Scud missiles falling on Tel Aviv. The Idea Britain hasnt been playing a role in the middle east since the day it supposedly stepped out with the East of Suez rule simply does not stand up.

 

The Taliban were the petri dish in which the worlds worst terrorist threat metastasized. I dont believe we should mock efforts to keep the Taliban in their box, because any terrorist group that establishes in Afghanistan under their watch is going to be a threat to Israel too. Yes, the PLO were a threat, nice one for dealing with that. Show me the rest that are a significant threat to Europe and the CONUS. Israel has done a nice job at dealing with threats to itself, im not detecting much participation in the wider war on terror that even the minor European military powers have participated in.

 

Well the RAF is current running an operation over Cyprus, intitially with Tornado's and latterly Typhoons and Lightnings against ISIS. There is as I suggest still a SF presence on the ground even though its not talked about. Again, if you can demonstrate Israel is doing a better job of keeping ISIS in its box, im happy to eat humble crow. To my mind the only concern the Israeli Government seemingly has is the Syrian Government and Hama's. Of limited concern to US and European security. I submit we are helping you more than you are helping us at this point.

 

I do not want to see a middle east without Israel. Ive never suggested such a thing. Im suggesting that if Israel is the big ally of the US that its purported to be, it needs a lot more out of area capability than it has, and a demonstrable will to use it. It doesnt, nor will it have. Israel is virtually irrelevant when it comes to confronting Iran in the Gulf for example.

 

Look at the list of Americans and Europeans that died in Afghanistan. Stop pretending that Israel is the only nation on earth that really gives a damn about combating terrorism.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coalition_casualties_in_Afghanistan

https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/costs/human/military

 

As pointed out before, thats not including the wounded. Canada took something like 5000 wounded. We took something like 2000.

 

 

If Israel wants to be an ally of the US, it needs to do as France and Britain have done and develop an out of area capability. Either military bases, or warships that can actually go to the Gulf and back. If it does not, its use as a military ally is distinctly limited. For the record I think Israel SHOULD do that, and I for one would welcome it developing a decent out of area maritime capability. But that is not going to happen.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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I don't think the West is a good fit for an alliance with Israel. Ideologically, the relationship would be fraught with danger due to Palestine and Israeli military actions in the region in general.

 

MZ - what's your take on Bibi not winning that election? With war clouds over Iran, I thought Israel would have gone with his military instincts?

Edited by glenn239
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