The significance of Nikki Haley’s resignation

Israel and the U.S. see eye to eye no matter who the U.N. envoy is.

Outgoing US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (photo credit: REUTERS)
Outgoing US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The unexpected, surprising and unexplained recent resignation of Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, has once again exposed one of Israel’s central traits. This is the provincial belief that everything in the universe revolves around Israel or is connected to it.
Israeli media and public figures – from cabinet ministers and Knesset Members to pundits expressed their sorrow, praised Haley’s contribution to Israel and tried to explain how it will affect Israel-US relations. Indeed, she has been a strong proponent of the special ties between the two countries. She expressed in a very clear and loud voice her support of the Jewish state, while condemning Israel’s enemies from Iran and Hezbollah to Hamas.
However, the truth is that her resignation has nothing to do with Israel or foreign policy issues. It must be related to US domestic policies and her relations with President Donald Trump and his administration. It is also clear that the ties between the two countries will not be hampered, regardless of whom Trump selects as her successor.
The strategic and intimate alliance between Israel and the US has never been stronger. It could have been easily and publicly noticed in September during the 73rd UN General Assembly in New York.
If the passages about the Middle East from the addresses delivered by Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would have been read by an actor, it would have been almost impossible to differentiate between them and to decipher who said what. Their messages were heard as though they were written by the same speechwriter. Maybe, with one minor exception. Netanyahu is a much more eloquent orator. His English is more impressive and his vocabulary richer.
Never before has there been such tight symbiosis and similar characteristic traits between the leaders of the two nations. Netanyahu and Trump are like political twins separated at birth.
They use the same political ploys, gimmicks and rhetoric, which contain incitement, divisive tactics, finger-pointing at real and imaginary rivals and enemies, blaming others for their failures, and they never accept responsibility for mistakes or express regrets. They blatantly spread lies without blinking.
Both of them do not hesitate to tear the fragile fabrics of their nations for their own, narrow political interests and survival. To fulfill their present and immediate satisfaction, they are ready to enslave the future of their nations. Here too, though, Netanyahu has the upper hand. He was the first to understand and execute these methods.
No less importantly, Trump shares the same outlook and vision regarding key issues for Netanyahu – especially the Palestinian question.
The Trump administration is the most supportive administration since Israel declared its independence, seventy years ago. It has given Israel “a blank check” to do almost whatever it wants. There is no better evidence than the words expressed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this month at the annual meeting of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA). Israel, he said “is democratic and prosperous, it desires peace, it is a home to a free press and a thriving economy,” calling it “everything we want the entire Middle East to look like, going forward.”
Trump doesn’t pretend, like previous presidents, to be impartial, supporting Israel while at the same time maintaining the facade of an honest broker, seeking to reach a fair and reasonable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Trump has moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to West Jerusalem and cut US funding to UNRWA (the UN agency dealing solely with Palestinian refugees) and to Palestinian hospitals in east Jerusalem, and closed the PLO office in Washington.
At the same time, when Israel runs into difficulties and faces a crisis on the international stage, the Trump administration rushes to help and rescue it. This was the case last month when Israel found itself challenged by Russia following the downing of the Russian spy aircraft over Syrian skies by a Syrian missile, after Israel Air Force (IAF) warplanes had attacked Iranian and Hezbollah weapon depots in Syria.
This was also the main reason why the head of Mossad, Yossi Cohen, was sent by Netanyahu to New York last month during the UN General Assembly deliberations. His task was to ask American officials to intervene in the crisis and persuade Russia not to supply Syria with more advanced S-300 anti-aircraft batteries, which would limit the freedom of action of the IAF against the regime of Bashar Assad. He failed. The batteries were delivered.
But Israel and the US are not the only ones to see eye to eye on some of the main Middle Eastern issues. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and war-torn Yemen share the view that Iran is the source of all evil in the region. This claim was heard during a conference marking the 10th anniversary of “United Against Nuclear Iran” (UANI), a bipartisan NGO established by former American senators, diplomats and intelligence officials.
Among participants and speakers were Mossad head Yossi Cohen, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, the UAE’s and Bahrain’s respective ambassadors to Washington Yousef al Otaiba and Abdullah Al-Khaliffa and Yemen’s Foreign Minister Ahmad Alyemany. They addressed the conference, one after the other, and except for Al-Jubeir, who apologized that he had to leave after his speech due to an earlier commitment, all the Arab participants stayed to listen to Cohen. A few weeks later, the UAE ambassador sat at the same table with Israel’s Ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer at the JINSA gathering.
The importance of all this, however, is not just that Arab diplomats and senior officials don’t shy away from being together with Israeli officials at the same event. It is in what they say and how they say it. While describing the administration of Barack Obama and the Iranian regime, all of them use language resembling Trump, Pompeo, Netanyahu and Cohen.
They talked about the “death” and “destruction” that Iran has been sowing in the region since its 1979 Islamic Revolution. Iran is characterized, said Al-Jubeir, by “death, destruction, terror and assassination.” He went on to claim that the money unfrozen by the Obama presidency following the nuclear deal between the six world powers and Iran was not channeled to build schools but to finance terror and produce long-range advanced missiles, to intervene in the civil wars in Syria and Yemen, and destabilize regimes in the Middle East and elsewhere.
The Saudi foreign minister as well as the UAE and Bahrain ambassadors also charged that Iran was conducting cyber warfare against their countries.
No wonder that after painting such a bleak reality, the international media consistently report how these Sunni Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and others, are ready to cooperate with Israel by sharing intelligence and by buying hi-tech services, especially in the field of homeland security and cyber security, from the Jewish state.
Other reports claim that Saudi Arabia, whose cities are under constant Iranian-made and Hezbollah-operated missile attacks from Yemen, is considering or already has bought Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense system.
Senior Israeli officials talk about “the Sunni alliance,” which is based on a fear and hatred of Iran, and thus epitomizes the old dictum that “the enemy of my enemies is my friend.” But it is hard to imagine that Israel’s relations with Sunni nations will surface in the open as long as there is no progress on the Palestinian front.
I introduced myself as an Israeli journalist to some of the prominent Arab officials and diplomats, who attended the recent New York events. They shook my hand, smiled and talked to me. They expressed their admiration for Israel’s military power and its strong economy.
“We are small nations,” some of them said. “Therefore you and the US are our shields. You are helping us by creating a strong wall against Iran’s hegemonic aspirations and its use of terror and military force.” But when I asked them to be interviewed and speak on the record, they apologetically explained that “the time is not ripe until there is a movement in the Palestinian direction.”