Herzog wants ‘NATO-like’ alliance of Israel, moderate Arab states | World Defense

Herzog wants ‘NATO-like’ alliance of Israel, moderate Arab states


Dec 26, 2014
319 0 0
Herzog wants ‘NATO-like’ alliance of Israel, moderate Arab states | The Times of Israel

NEW YORK (JTA) – In the mind of Israel’s opposition leader, Labor Party (Zionist Union party) chief Isaac Herzog, the array of threats in the Middle East these days present Israel with a historic opportunity.

Yes, Palestinians are stabbing Israelis daily. Yes, Israel arguably has its most right-wing government since Benjamin Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister, in the late 1990s. Yes, Obama administration officials conceded last week that they have given up on achieving an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal during the remainder of the president’s term, which ends in January 2017.

But in Herzog’s view, the rise of the Islamic State and the threat of a nuclear Iran offer an extraordinary opportunity for a “NATO-like” alliance of Israel and moderate Arab states.

Given their common enemies and interests, Herzog says, the Jewish state can work with Egypt, Jordan, the Gulf states and others to curb the expansion of Iranian power, contain the Islamic State, facilitate intelligence sharing, and propel Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table.

“Despite the fact that we’re in a terror wave of stabbings and throwings of stones and casualties and another painful moment between Jew and Arab in the Holy Land, despite all of that we must look beyond that and take steps that can change the course of history in the region,” Herzog told a group of reporters Wednesday in a meeting in Manhattan organized by the Israel Policy Forum.

“There is a unique opportunity in this region, which stands from a convergence of interests between moderate Arab states that surround us – some of them our immediate neighbors, such as Egypt and Jordan, together with nations such as Morocco, or Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and others – who have common interests by the fact that they are seeing ISIL as a major threat and they see Iran as a major threat and they share a common interest with Israel,” he said.

The question for Herzog is: What’s his game plan for getting from here to there?