Can US-Israeli relations be repaired after Israel’s election?

Can US-Israeli relations be repaired after Israel’s election?

By Kayvon Afshari and Michael Brooks

The fallout from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address to Congress on the nuclear negotiations with Iran poses an important question: is there a long-term structural fissure between the US and Israel, or is this simply a personality conflict between Obama and Netanyahu?

With the Israeli elections coming up on 17 March, the answer is particularly important, as it indicates whether a change in leadership can resolve a potential structural fissure, or if it will simply mask over those deep policy differences with more welcoming handshakes and cosmetic smiles.

Obama and Netanyahu certainly do not get along well, indicating that, at the very least, there is a real conflict between leaders. However, this personality conflict has metastasised to the extent that it has laid bare the significant policy disagreements on Iran’s nuclear programme and, to a lesser extent, the Palestinian issue.

This public rift between the US and Israel likely cannot be resolved by a new Israeli prime minister, as Netanyahu’s opponents, if elected, are unlikely to implement significantly differing policies from those of the Likud leader

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