Now Witnessing change in US-Israeli relations
Binyamin Netanyahu’s reaction to the news of the attacks in New York and Washington after 9/11 On September 12, 2001, the New York Times reported.
Asked tonight what the 9/11 attack meant for relations between the United States and Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu … replied, ”It’s very good.” Then he edited himself: ”Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.”
His thinking was that, once the US had experienced terrorism, its government would stop criticising Israel for hitting back hard when it was attacked by “terrorists”. And the US would stop implying that Palestinian violence was a result of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza – and would view it as just as random and nihilistic as an attack by Saudi jihadists on New York and Washington.
And that is exactly what happened. President George W Bush, surrounded by neocon advisers who viewed Arabs the same way the Israeli right did, was happy to conflate 9/11 and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Israelis became us and the Palestinians became al Qaeda. Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader who had recognised Israel and worked with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to thwart terrorism, instantly became Osama bin Laden.