FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Both sides insist the bond is unshakable... but it's pretty hard to ignore the rising tensions between the U.S. and Israel these days.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/16/art.netanyahu.biden.jpg caption="Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with VP Joe Biden in March. Netanyahu met with Pres. Obama later that day."]
Now Pres. Obama is signaling a shift in American policy in the Middle East... by declaring that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a "vital national security interest of the United States."
He's drawing a direct link here between what's happening in Israel and the safety of U.S. troops fighting Islamic extremists in the region.
The New York Times reports the president's shift in tone reflects a debate within the administration over how to "best balance support for Israel against other American interests."
It's no secret that the administration has been frustrated with a lack of progress in peace talks; and that they were not happy with Israel's recent snub of announcing a massive new Jewish housing project while Vice President Biden was in Israel.
That was reportedly followed by a tense meeting between the president and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington.
Israel's right-wing government is concerned that the U.S. will try to push through a peace deal on its own, meaning they'd have to give up things they don't want to; and that the Palestinians might declare statehood unilaterally as early as next year.
To that end - Israel has spent much of the last week highlighting threats it faces in the region... from a potentially nuclear-armed Iran to charges that Syria is providing weapons to Hezbollah guerillas in Lebanon.
Syria says it's not true.
Here’s my question to you: How should the U.S. change its policy toward Israel?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Richard in Kansas writes:
It would be nice if we would stop kissing their butts and remind them that America can exist just fine without Israel, but Israel cannot exist without America. Consider that the next time you think of slapping us in the face when we come to help you make peace with your neighbors.
Nancy in Tennessee writes:
The U.S. could change its policy toward Israel best by staying out of their business. The Palestinians have long been encroaching on a land that belongs to this Jewish nation. We could take some lessons from Israel as thousands of Mexicans flood our borders and call U.S. soil their home illegally.
I say it's time to abandon Israel completely. No more free Abrams tanks, no more military budget expenditures on defense technology and no more American lives spent to defend a people who consistently inspire the hatred of their neighbors through deviant actions. Time's up. Let's move on.
Annie in Atlanta writes:
We need to back them up. They're surrounded by people who hate them. However, I just have one question: With the way Jewish people were treated, as a whole, in the past, how can they justify the way they treat the Palestinians?
Other than federal politicians, average Americans have no idea why the U.S. caters to an obviously oppressive country. Peace needs to be achieved between Israel and Palestine, and the U.S. needs to adjust its stance on Israel in any way that will make this happen. The U.S. has stood too silent for too long. When you are as close as the U.S. and Israel say they are, then the relationship can stand some tough love.
Chris in Philadelphia writes:
Israel is an ally and always will be but they can't be given carte blanche to do whatever they want. You want to live peacefully with neighbors, you may have to sacrifice something. Like settlements. If you lived among alligators, would you regularly poke them in the eye and expect everything to go your way?