What Do US Election Results Mean for Israel

Arutz Sheva spoke with Prof. Eytan Gilboa about the major US-Israel policy issues affected by US midterm elections' results.

Cynthia Blank,

Pres. Obama and PM Netanyahu
Pres. Obama and PM Netanyahu
Flash 90

The Republican party has won command of the Senate for the first time since 2007, sweeping control of the Congress. 

With this control comes new possibilities and alliances in the relationship between the United States (US) and Israel. 

Prof. Eytan Gilboa, an expert on American-Israeli relations, spoke with Arutz Sheva about what he deemed the "three major issues Israel is concerned about," that could be significantly impacted by this change in US legislative control. 

The first - the war with Islamic State (ISIS). Although the United States has been launching airstrikes against the terrorist group in Syria and Iraq, many Republicans feel the Obama administration's foreign policy is not doing enough against what many constituents view as a "serious threat." 

With the Republican victory an increase in military spending and a comprehensive debate over policy toward the Islamic State seems likely. 

The second and "most important" issue for Israel is the Iranian nuclear deal, to which Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government is strongly opposed.

"The United States is close to a deal with Iran and the President says he is not deterred to get the approval of Congress" to rescind sanctions against Iran in a final agreement deal. 

However, because "both Democrats and Republicans have been opposing [this agreement]," Gilboa stressed that Obama could very well try to "circumvent Congress, because he is unsure he can win there." 

And finally, the third issue is the possible resumption of peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Obama has up until this point held significant leverage against Israel, but "if he were to begin pressuring Israel [into negotiations] again, Israel may very well turn to and ask for help from members of Congress." 

Echoing a prediction made prior to the vote by former Ambassador Yoram Ettinger, Gilboa noted that "If the Palestinian Authority goes to the United Nations and asks for recognition without negotiations," the 300 million aid dollars sent yearly to the Palestinian Authority could also come under fire by Republican Representatives and Senators.

Gilboa concluded that Obama "must be more careful in pressuring Israel," particularly in his new position as a "lame duck," but stressed that Israeli foreign policy must avoid jeopardizing bipartisan support.

"Israel must be careful not to use the Republicans in Congress against the Democratic President too much, for fear of alienating Democrats." 




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