U.S. Election Likely Won't Shift Israel Policy

Analysis

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By Reuters

Published October 31, 2012.
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“There is clear daylight between the prime minister and the White House, and most Israelis believe that Obama deliberately wanted it that way,” said Ehud Yaari, an Israel-based fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

“But there wouldn’t be much of a difference between (Obama and Romney) on the Palestinian conflict or even with the Iranian issue. The course of future U.S. policy is pretty much set.”

UNDER THE BUS

Romney has certainly tried to play up divergences with Obama over Middle East policy, repeatedly accusing his rival of throwing Israel “under a bus” and suggesting he would adopt a tougher line with the Iran’s powerful clerics.

But in their debate on foreign policy last week, the two men appeared in broad agreement on a range of issues, competing with each other to show their support for Israel and making clear it was by far their most important partner in a troubled region.

They also adopted a similar line on Iran - promising to prevent Tehran from getting nuclear weapons without mentioning the words “red line”, or committing to using military force.

“It is … essential for us to understand what our mission is in Iran, and that is to dissuade Iran from having a nuclear weapon through peaceful and diplomatic means,” Romney said.

Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons.

Romney’s language was duly noted in Israel, even raising questions of whether a Republican administration, haunted by the Iraq-tattered legacy of former President George W. Bush, would have the stomach for a daunting new Middle East conflict.

According to that theory, if anyone is likely to send in the warplanes, it is the Democrat Obama, who has succeeded in convincing Russia and China to back tough sanctions on Iran and is viewed with less suspicion around the globe than Romney.


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