Alan Dershowitz: Israel, US Are 'Friends Who Disagree'

Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014 12:22 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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The United States and Israel are "friends who disagree," Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz told Newsmax TV's "America's Forum" on Wednesday, adding that he would not categorize the relationship as fractured, as former Sen. Rick Santorum portrayed it.

Santorum, a Pennsylvania Republican who ran for president in 2012, told Newsmax TV on Tuesday that the "average Israeli" knew where President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry stood on Israel's conflict with the Palestinians, and that it wasn't "to protect the security of Israel."

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Santorum "actually may be right in describing what many Israelis believe, but the Israelis [who] believe that are wrong," Dershowitz said. "The U.S. and Israel are friends who disagree rather than being on different sides of the fundamental issues of Israel's security."

Dershowitz said the United States was "on the same page" with Israel on security issues but the two disagreed about Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

"John Kerry, who I have known for more than 30 years, and President Obama, who I have also known for a long period of time, are clearly on Israel's side when it comes to security. They're not on Israel's side when it comes to settlements. But I'm not sure I am either," he said.

Tensions remain high between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza as each side tries to maintain a ceasefire while at the same time lobbing limited rocket attacks at each other.

Middle East expert Walid Phares has said that the role of Hamas, a partner of the Palestinian Authority, is the problem facing negotiations for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Hamas, which he called "an ally to Hezbollah and Iran," is not interested in peace because it is "afraid of losing the Iranian support."

Dershowitz said there was little difference between Hamas and the terrorist group the Islamic State (ISIS), which has been conducting a brutal siege against Christians and other minorities in Iraq and Syria. Were it not for Israel's defense forces, he suggested, "Hamas would be doing exactly what ISIS is doing."

Iraq's neighbors in the Middle East are getting "very nervous" about the activities of ISIS, Phares said. The terrorist group has become "a monster of Frankenstein," he said, predicting that it would eventually send its European and other Western members to attack countries outside the Middle East.

Dershowitz said the threat of ISIS may lead to alliances among countries to fight back against potential attacks, including one between Israel and the Palestinians.

"We need a whole new architecture here in Washington," Dershowitz said. "Supporting the Kurds, supporting the minorities, and making sure that we have moderates in Baghdad, not pro-Iranians, and bringing all these into one alliance.

"Also, making sure that Israel and the moderate Palestinians are coming together."

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