July 29, 2015
Relations between the United States and Israel are at a nadir not seen since 1956. Though cooperation on a variety of issues relating to counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation continues apace, government to government and leader to leader, the relationship is a mess. As the Obama administration struts to a finish, the question of who is to blame for the deterioration in comity between Washington and Jerusalem is largely irrelevant. And though — with a view to electoral politics — GOP candidates may choose to blame the Obama/Clinton team, there is every reason to believe that the problem on this end was with Mr. Obama and not Mrs. Clinton. No matter what, it will fall to the next president to repair ties with Israel and to address the lingering challenge of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Here are the questions he or she needs to be prepared to answer:
1.) The peace process between Israel and the Palestinians has dragged on fitfully for decades. During the latter half of the Obama administration, Palestinian leadership embraced a United Nations, rather than bilateral, route to statehood. How do you rank the peace process among your foreign policy priorities, and will you support the unilateral Palestinian quest for statehood?
Successive presidents have devoted themselves to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to no avail; the two remain in conflict, and the situation in the Palestinian territories has declined from bad to worse as Fatah and Hamas factions struggle for power. Arab states once preoccupied with the Palestinian cause have turned to more pressing problems at home and abroad, and no longer prioritize a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the most important foreign policy challenge. That said, the ongoing conflict remains a source of instability in the region. Hamas continues to be a threat to Israelis and others, and the lack of a settlement remains a challenge to the United States. Rebuilding the relationship after the corrosive personal acrimony between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears straightforward, but will be complicated by the new deal with Iran and continual crises in the region...
Read the full article at the American Enterprise Institute: 5 questions every presidential candidate should answer: US-Israel relations edition