As mentioned in today’s Daily Talking Points, Israeli President Shimon Peres appears to have endorsed the concept of linkage which many on the pro-Israel right continue to reject. The concept— which is accepted at the highest levels of the U.S. military, that resolving the Arab-Palestinian conflict will forward the U.S.’s broader strategic interests in the region—has become divisive because many neoconservative see it as a direct threat to their ideology of the road to Middle East Peace running through Baghdad Tehran, a belief which leads them to argue that pressuring Israel on settlements should be put on the back burner until Israel’s enemies in the region are neutralized.
Peres makes the compelling argument that the U.S. has given much to Israel and that Israel should do what it can to help the U.S. in pursuing American strategic objectives in the region.
The Jerusalem Post reports [my emphasis]:
Speaking of how Israel can give back to the US, he said that just “as the US is trying to understand the security needs of Israel, we Israelis ourselves must understand the security needs of the US.” He continued, “We cannot give back to the United States what the US is giving us, but in our own small way, we can be of help.”
The Post’s summary of Peres’ comments, delivered at the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, continues [my emphasis again]:
Connecting two of the largest issues on the Israeli – and American – agenda, the president said Israel could be of help to the US by enabling an “anti-Iran coalition in the Middle East, and the contribution will not be by declaration, but if we stop the secondary conflict between us and the Palestinians,” in order to allow the US to focus on the Iranian threat.
While Peres doesn’t specify what, exactly, an “anti-Iran coalition” should do — military strikes? sanctions? diplomatic outreach? — he explicitly endorses the idea that bringing an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will make it easier for the U.S. and Israel to pursue multilateral initiatives with Arab allies.