The essence of current US-Israeli relations should not be analysed in the context of Palestinian and regional issues. Analysis needs to cover the political implications of the US President Donald Trump’s declaration of December 2017, which recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Implications of US Vice President Mike Pence’s recent visit to Israel also need to be taken into account.
It now appears that Pence’s visit to Israel is a confirmation of the US unconditional support to Israel in general, and to Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in particular. The visit conveys a message to Israel, saying that the USA will not place pressure on Israel in any political settlement. It also indicates that the USA can accept any de facto situation, which Israel creates on the ground.
This understanding of the implications of Pence’s visit holds water given that it followed an extensive Israeli attack on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ speech at the Palestinian Central Council. The Israeli attack was essentially designed to delegitimise Abbas. For Israel, Pence’s visit was a new step that continues this trend significantly upwards.
It is worth noting that Pence is one of Israel’s most supportive actors in the current US Administration. He was among those who engineered the declaration on Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The declaration was made in spite of opposition from Secretary of Defence James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Pence does not even hide his subjectivity in relation to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.