Extremists’ ascent makes US-Israel relationship more dangerous to civilians and military
Benjamin Netanyahu’s return to power in Israel has ushered in a government more dominated by religious and ultra-nationalist extremists than any ruling coalition in the country’s 74-year history.
While that fact has been well-reported, most Americans are oblivious to a grim implication: The new Israeli government’s extreme policies toward Palestinians and regional rivals will imperil American lives at home and abroad.
Americans aren’t jeopardized by those policies per se, but rather by the U.S. government’s unconditional military, financial and diplomatic support of Israel, which are seen as enabling such policies. Anger over that support is a principal motivator of terror attacks on American targets, and it intensifies when Israel’s actions grow more extreme.
At the same time civilians face a heightened danger from terror attacks, members of the American military will face a higher risk of being drawn into pointless conflicts initiated by more hawkish Israeli government.
Support of Israel a Key Driver of Anti-US Terrorism
Along with U.S. intervention in the Middle East and support for corrupt dictators in the region, American backing of Israel was repeatedly cited by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden as a foremost motivator of his jihad against the United States
Indeed, Bin Laden said his determination to attack targets in the United States initially sprang from Israel’s destruction of apartment towers during Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon…so much so that it focused his attention on the World Trade Center as a target:
“We witnessed the injustice and tyranny of the American-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon…As I watched the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me punish the unjust the same way [and] to destroy towers in America so it could taste some of what we are tasting and to stop killing our children and women,” bin Laden said in a 2004 speech.
In his 1996 declaration of war against Americans, he pointed to the First Qana Massacre, in which Israel launched an artillery attack on Lebanese civilians sheltering at a UN compound. The attack killed 106 — half of them children —and video evidence points to Israel’s awareness that they were targeting civilians.
Bin Laden said Muslim youth “hold [the United States] responsible for all the killings…carried out by your Zionist brothers in Lebanon; you openly supplied them with arms and finance.”
The same reasoning drove 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. As the 9/11 Commission report asserted, Mohammed’s “animus toward the United States stemmed not from his experiences there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.”…