On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met for an hour and 45 minutes on the specifics of a proposed US-Israel defense pact. The pact amounts to a more or less direct US intervention in Israeli politics, after two elections failed to end with a government formed.
The Trump Administration had made no bones about preferring Netanyahu over his primary political rival Benny Gantz, and the pact seems to be pandering to that fact, since Gantz is opposed to the deal.
Netanyahu looks to be steering heavily into this US lifeline, arguing that the deal proves he needs to stay in power, and that in the event of a rotation government with Gantz, he’d have to be first because of his “unique” ties with the US.
Details of the pact aren’t clear, beyond it committing the US to war to defend Israel. Those familiar with it have said the pact would in no way restrict Israel’s ability to unilaterally attack targets across the region, meaning constant Israeli attacks on targets in Syria and Iraq could continue.
The other important aspect, that the US is directly meddling in Israeli power-sharing talks with this plan, is something that historically the US has been reluctant to do, at least in Israel. Previously, any US government was automatically on good terms with any Israeli government, but at this point Trump has committed deeply to a relationship with Israel’s far-right.