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A question which ought to have been asked long ago

The Guardian reports on a change of thinking in Washington which might see the US not so automatically joined at the hip to Israel:

"There are questions that rarely get asked in Washington. For years, the mantra that America's intimate alliance with Israel was as good for the US as it was the Jewish state went largely unchallenged by politicians aware of the cost of anything but unwavering support.

But swirling in the background when Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, arrives in Washington tomorrow to patch up relations with the White House will be a question rarely voiced until recently: is Israel ‑ or, at the very least, its current government ‑ endangering US security and American troops?"

And:

"A former director of intelligence assessment for the US defence secretary, last month caused waves with a paper called Israel as a Strategic Liability? In it, Anthony Cordesman, who has written extensively on the Middle East, noted a shift in thinking at the White House, the US state department and, perhaps crucially, the Pentagon over the impact of Washington's long-unquestioning support for Israeli policies even those that have undermined the prospects for peace with the Palestinians.

He wrote that the US will not abandon Israel because it has a moral commitment to ensure the continued survival of the Jewish state. "At the same time, the depth of America's moral commitment does not justify or excuse actions by an Israeli government that unnecessarily make Israel a strategic liability when it should remain an asset. It does not mean that the United States should extend support to an Israeli government when that government fails to credibly pursue peace with its neighbours.

"It is time Israel realised that it has obligations to the United States, as well as the United States to Israel, and that it become far more careful about the extent to which it test the limits of US patience and exploits the support of American Jews."

Cordesman told the Guardian that the Netanyahu government has maintained a "pattern of conduct" that has pushed the balance toward Israel being more of a liability than an asset."

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