by Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative,” “Israel Hayom”
President Obama’s criticism of Prime Minister Netanyahu — on the eve of the January 22, 2013 Israeli election — underlines the secondary role played by the Palestinian issue in shaping US-Israel strategic cooperation.
Since March, 2009, Obama has systematically scorned Netanyahu’s policies on the Arab-Israeli conflict in general and the Palestinian issue, Jerusalem and the construction of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, in particular. However, since March, 2009, irrespective of harsh disagreements over the Palestinian issue, the mutually-beneficial US-Israel strategic cooperation has expanded, especially in areas which feature the distinctive Israeli added-value: intelligence-sharing, counter-terrorism, homeland security, missile defense, training, battle tactics, joint exercises, pre-positioning of military hardware, medical treatment of soldiers and civilians, research and development, space, commercial and defense industries and high tech in general. Neither Israel nor the US intends to subordinate primary interests to secondary issues by cutting off their noses to spite their faces.