No two people would ever disagree on the strategic nature of the relationship between Israel and successive American administrations over the course of the past six decades. Not only does Israel play a strategic role that is aligned with American interests in the Middle East but the true extent of that relationship also became even more evident during Israel’s recent offensive against the Gaza Strip. Any observer could have seen the true nature of this relationship through the Obama administration’s position on the massacre of civilians in the occupied territory, which confirmed that the US-Israel partnership was unshakable and clearly defined.
From the very first day that Israel began its airstrikes on the besieged enclave, US media outlets pushed the Israeli position, repeating the claim that Israel was acting in “self-defence”. Indeed, the same media did not hesitate to broadcast distorted and biased reports that focused on Israeli fears without any mention of Palestinian victims, many of who were women and children. Furthermore, the mounting total of Palestinian casualties did not prevent Washington from “replenishing” the Israeli army with sophisticated weapons and deadly missiles.
Such was the level of America’s support, according to statistics published in Israel during the attacks on Gaza, it is fair to say that the Obama administration was Israel’s willing partner in the killing of Palestinian civilians and the destruction of infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, including UNRWA schools and health centres. What is remarkable is that the US was providing the Israeli army with American ordnance that had been stored in warehouses in Israel with just such a scenario in mind. According to the Israeli media, from the very first day of the assault, the US poured-in millions of dollars to support the so-called Iron Dome anti-missile system used to combat rockets fired by the Palestinian resistance.
It should also be borne in mind that US economic support keeps Israel’s economy strong and enables it to continue its illegal military occupation of Palestine. In fact, US support for Israel extends beyond economic and military aid. The US-Israel partnership has been fostered since 1948 on all levels: political, economic, cultural and diplomatic. Washington has used its veto at the UN Security Council on numerous occasions to block resolutions condemning Israeli aggression against the Palestinians.
Nevertheless, America’s financial aid to Israel constitutes the most important element in US support for the country, easing economic crises over the years. Military backing has contributed to the modernisation of the Israeli military, making it one of the best-equipped in the world.
It is estimated that the amount of US aid to Israel since 1948 has totalled $119 billion, 60 per cent of which is said to have been military aid. This figure is expected to reach $122 billion by next year.
What is interesting is that prior to 1967 the bulk of American aid to Israel was limited to economic support due to Israel’s expansion into Palestinian territory. The year 1967 is considered to be a historical turning point in which Israel went from being one component of US foreign policy to becoming America’s key ally and the centre of all US-based strategy in the Middle East.
American military aid to Israel peaked in 1974 following its losses against Syria and Egypt in the October War the previous year. Washington was also relying ever more on its ally to the extent that between 1975 and 1982, aid totalled almost $18 million. In 1979, US military aid reached an all-time high of 83 per cent of the total given to Israel. This increase in material support was intended to compensate Israel for ending its occupation of the Sinai Peninsula as part of the Camp David Accord signed between Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin during the presidency of Jimmy Carter.
Today, America gives Israel around $3 billion every year; that’s $8 million every day, most of it for military purposes. This has helped the Zionist state to absorb migrant Jews from the Soviet Union after its collapse and, again, to provide “compensation”, this time for “damage” resulting from the Second Gulf War.
With this sort of history of supporting Israel, the Obama Administration did not hesitate to support it during its recent attacks on Gaza. If nothing else, it confirms that there is a joint aggression strategy between the United States and Israel and that Palestinian rights, no matter how important, are not on the strategic agenda.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.