Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu told Congress this week that “Israel has no better ally than the U.S., and the U.S. has no better ally than Israel.” The relationship’s importance has been underlined as governments throughout the Middle East face unrest in what is now known as the “Arab Spring”. This is one of the most important times in the history of our alliance with Israel and our support - more than ever - must be unwavering.
The day before Netanyahu landed in the United States, President Obama announced what he believes to be the starting point for a continuation of peace talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis. The President believes the 1967 borders are an appropriate place to begin negotiations. If this plan were to proceed under any circumstances it would leave large segments of the Israeli population outside their borders and leave Israel in a very vulnerable position to defend itself.
Obama’s proposal also comes at a time when the two major Palestinian factions - Hamas and Fatah - have come together to form a unified Palestinian government after years of feuding. Hamas is still considered a terrorist organization by the United States government and refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist. With a unified government, the Palestinians intend to bring a vote to the United Nations to seek recognition as a Palestinian state. If this were to pass in the U.N., a plan would be forced on Israel rather than an agreement negotiated between the Palestinians and Israelis.
As the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee that oversees aid for security in the West Bank, I wrote to President Abbas and explained that this is not acceptable and the U.S will cut our assistance if Hamas is included in a future government. Our commitment to Israel has to be our priority in the region. In a time of such instability in the Middle East, our support for Israel must be clearly defined now more than ever.