A question most often asked in the Israeli government is whether a win by the Democratic Party in congressional elections would accelerate expected changes in U.S. policy in the Middle East.
If Democrats carry out campaign promises and pressure the U.S. to expedite a withdrawal from Iraq, there would be significant ramifications for Israel. It is universally understood that a U.S. withdrawal would be viewed by the Arab world as a defeat of the West, and stimulate a renewed spirit of warfare by all of Israel’s Arab adversaries, which would include the Palestinian Authority.
Jordan, which maintains a much more stable peace treaty with Israel than the Jewish state has witnessed with Egypt, would suddenly feel a new threat on its eastern and northern front, from Iraq and Syria respectively, with Iran lurking in the background.
Meanwhile, Israeli policy makers have not lost sight of the fact that two of Israel’s harshest critics, James Baker and Lee Hamilton, the two principal proponents of the Iraq Study Group, are indeed expected to present recommendations for the U.S. military presence in Iraq later in November. This group is expected to advise the U.S. government that Israel must make wide-ranging concessions to the Palestinian Authority and to Syria, with or without reciprocity.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert plans to meet President George Bush in Washington on November 13 in a discussion expected to focus on Iran’s nuclear program, Syria, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority.
Israel is still reeling from U.S. Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice’s decision to provide arms and support for the Fatah organization, despite the fact that the Fatah organization has done nothing to disband its Al Aksa Brigades, which continues to be defined by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization.
In short, Israel’s hope for a friendly U.S. Congress at this time cannot be understated at this time, to act as a check and balance against those forces in Washington who could care less about Israel’s fate and future.