Skip to main content

Sinking ties with US linked to Netanyahu's political fortunes

A drop in US-Israel ties has provoked a domestic political crisis for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who faces challenges from Avigdor Liberman and Naftali Bennett.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) listens to Foreign Affairs and Defence committee chair Zeev Elkin during a committee meeting at parliament in Jerusalem June 2, 2014. Netanyahu warned on Sunday against any international rush to recognise a Palestinian government due to be announced under a unity pact between the Fatah and Hamas Islamist groups.REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun (JERUSALEM - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3RRU6
Read in 

Never before has the status of the relations between Israel and the United States been the way it is now — not even during President Gerald Ford’s “reassessment period” or President George H. Bush’s failure to approve the international loan guarantees. It is the style that I am referring to particularly. Relations between the United States and its small ally in the Middle East have had their share of ups and downs. Despite knowing even lower points than the current one, never before did the situation turn into such a foul quarrel. Respectful of each other, the parties always made sure not to air their dirty linen in public, dissembling control on the outside. Well, no more.

The relationships between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama can be divided into a few chapters. Initially, there was mutual suspicion and repressed resentment, which was followed by a long period of status quo. In its wake and after the construction moratorium in the territories, the relationships relatively thrived. Their current term started out like a honeymoon when the negotiations (with the Palestinians) resumed and following the optimism that Secretary of State John Kerry imbued with everyone — even though it had no basis on the ground. With the breakdown of the negotiations came the breakdown in the relationships and trust, having reached its all-time low. An open struggle began, including statements from both sides as well as vitriolic leaks by associates.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.