Misconceptions About U.S. Support For Israel
Commentary by Sarah Ann Haves
Among American Christian’s there have been some misconceptions about U.S. support for Israel. There’s been talk about President Barack Obama’s sympathies for the Palestinian cause, while at the same time, unrelenting U.S. pressure on Israel, especially concerning settlement growth. Furthermore, these same pro-Israel Americans continue to question the Obama Administration’s loyalty to its only democratic ally in the Middle East.
While it’s true that there have been genuine disagreements between the U.S. and Israel on the Palestinian issue, causing a strain in diplomatic relations, there’s another aspect of this relationship that has been virtually ignored by some Americans….that is, unprecedented and continued military cooperation between the two nations.
The most common question asked of this writer is whether Israel will conduct a pre-emptive strike against Iran in the coming months, and whether the U.S. will, likely, support or abandon Israel if that happens. In addition, there is uncertainty about whether the Obama Administration will share specific military codes with Israel, so that Israel’s air force can fly over certain Middle Eastern countries in the event of war.
It seems the U.S. media has failed to provide adequate information to Americans about unparalleled defense collaboration between the governments of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barak Obama since both men took office.
On October 21, Israel and the U.S. began a joint missile defense drill which concluded on November 12. After the drill each nation stated its shared commitment towards a stable Middle East. The drill was reported to be the largest military exercise ever coordinated between the two countries, using air, sea and land forces. At least 17 U.S. naval war ships were sent to the region. America also deployed the THAAD, Aegis, and PAC-3 anti-missile defense systems into Israel. There was some talk that the Obama Administration would be leaving behind a few U.S. “Patriot’s” in case Israel needed them as a back-up to the Israeli Arrow-2 ballistic missile defense system.
At least 1,400 U.S. troops were deployed into Israel in order to coordinate military exercises with an equal number of IDF soldiers. One report mentioned that there have never been so many U.S. military generals in Israel at one time.
Since both the American and Israeli governments came to power, Israel’s Chief of Staff Lt.-General Gabi Ashkenazi and U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen have communicated with each other on a weekly basis, and have often met together in Israel, America, and Europe to discuss defense strategies.
High-level defense officials have spent 18 months planning for the recent military assignment. Dubbed Juniper Cobra 10, the operation included three main phases. According to Israeli government sources, the "Field Training Exercise," stressed the cooperation between Israeli and U.S. forces in various drills. A computer-simulation "Command Post Exercise" examined the interoperability of Israeli and U.S. air defense systems. A "Live Fire Exercise" tested both Israeli and U.S. air defense systems including the Patriot.
Juniper Cobra 10 allowed the two countries to test what a joint response would look like if there was a potential Iranian strike on Israel. In addition, it included military preparedness for a possible Israeli war with Hezbollah -- Iran’s terrorist proxy in Lebanon. Israel has already warned Syria against sending any more advanced weapons systems to Hezbollah’s armed forces. This comes after Syria recently delivered ¼ of its military arsenal to Hezbollah in the form of long-range and middle-range missiles. A future war with Hezbollah could escalate into a war with Syria. Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak is also closely monitoring Hamas in Gaza, after the terrorist group recently tested an Iranian missile capable of reaching Tel Aviv. Barak is concerned that Israel is losing its qualitative edge in the Middle East, and he will not allow the balance in military power to tip in favor of Israel’s enemies.
According to the Commander of Israel’s Air Force Defense Corps, Brigadier-General Doron Gavish, the Juniper Cobra exercise, “simulated challenging scenarios and the use of the most advanced weapons in the field.” In addition, he added, “The professionalism of the forces and the level of cooperation between the two armies were reflected in the way the forces were activated.”
Confirming the existing military teamwork between Israel and America, the Commander of the U.S. Joint Task Force, Rear Admiral John M. Richardson, recently made this statement: "During the past two weeks, our two forces have stood together and fought through a very challenging scenario. We have brought together new technologies and new procedures. We learned some very valuable lessons and had a tremendous result. I want to thank the Israeli people, and especially the Israel Defense Forces, for their hospitality and cooperation."
While Israel continues to struggle with successfully presenting its diplomatic position to the international community, it has enjoyed extraordinary ties with foreign militaries. This confirms an expanding U.S. led coalition against Iranian nuclear aspirations. However, few Americans understand that while Israel may be considering a pre-emptive strike against Iran, the IDF is looking, first and foremost, to directly securing Israel’s northern and southern borders from attack against Israel’s home front.
According to recent media reports, Israel is a member of a NATO mission called Active Endeavor, based in Naples, Italy, where Israel has representation in an international command center. It is there that Israeli and international military officers share intelligence information about naval ships passing through the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. They try to determine which ships may be suspect of involvement in terrorist acts. The recent Israeli capture of a large Iranian arms cache aboard the Francop ship, reportedly destined for Hezbollah, was part of the success of such intelligence gathering. The captured cache was large enough for Hezbollah to support a month-long war against Israel. The Netanyahu government is relying more and more on shared military intelligence information to help Israel in its war against terror.
So, with this kind of high-level defense cooperation going on between Israel, the U.S. and NATO, it is hard to believe that the Obama Administration would deny Israel specific military codes to fly over certain Middle Eastern countries in the event of a future war with Iran. Furthermore, it has become apparent to those living in the Middle East, that for now, it is a priority of the U.S. Defense Department to stand by Israel, at least when it comes to the close strategic military pact the two countries actively share with one another.
And, when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And, his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” So, he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 2 Kings 6:15-16
Ms. Haves is a news analyst, reporting from Israel on political, diplomatic, military and spiritual issues affecting the nation.
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Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright ©1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.