The real damage to Israel has come over the years from the special relationship itself.Put simply, the relationship has damaged Israel by turning it into an adolescent state that doesn’t take responsibility for its own actions. And why should it take responsibility, when America’s uncritical embrace allows it to behave with the certainty that no action would ever be too costly – America would always save it from military, economic or diplomatic ruin.To the extent, moreover, that this certainty has weakened Israel’s resolve to settle its conflict with its neighbors, the country has been further damaged by the loss of faith that the conflict could ever end. Hence the powerlessness to stop the occupation. This has had a terribly corrosive effect on Israeli life – from the high level of stress in everyday living, to the distorted allocation of national resources Israel’s 2010 state budget allocates $14.4 billion for defense, a figure equal to 6.7 percent of the country’s GDP – the highest of any developed nation , to the psychological adjustments that Israelis must make in the face of the deepening erosion of democratic values and growing doubts about the future prospects of the country as such.Israelis have become accustomed to living under such anomalous conditions because, in many respects, the cushion of the special relations with the United States allows them to.
If Israel’s government responds well, the tensions we are currently experiencing might yet prove to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Yonatan Touval is a foreign policy analyst with several Israeli NGOs dedicated to advancing final-status agreements between Israel and its neighbors.