It was revealed on Monday in Tel Aviv that after nearly three rounds of negotiations between the US and Israel regarding American support for Israel, the path has lead to a dead end. As a result, there are high levels of tensions between the two sides.
Haaretz newspaper recently re-iterated statements made by sources in Washington and Tel Aviv indicating that senior officials within the American administration informed the Israelis that they would not get bigger benefits if Prime Minister Netanyahu decided to wait until a new US president is elected before signing a new agreement. Due to the economic problems facing the United States at the current moment, the American government has stated that it will not increase its aid or support for Israel.
According to a correspondent on political affairs at Haaretz, senior officials within the Obama administration recently confirmed speculations that Israel receives more than 50 per cent of the aid given by the US globally each year. In fact, the majority of the US aid given to Israel was so that the Israel could defend itself against the Iranian nuclear threat, which has since diminished after the nuclear deal was signed. And yet, as a result of this deal, a serious discussion has begun between the two sides: the US and Israel. Israeli Minister of Defence Moshe Ya’alon placed Israel’s demands on the table in Washington and the ball is new in America’s court as Israel is currently fearful of the US changing its preference from offensive weapons to defensive ones.
With that said, the main request on the Israeli list of demands to Washington was Tel Aviv’s demand for more defensive weapons, ones that would be able to keep Iran at bay as well as make it possible for Israel to achieve its goals outside of the state. According to the report published by Haaretz, during its meetings with the US, Tel Aviv asked to be compensated for consequences that will ensue as a result of the Iranian Nuclear Deal. For compensation, Tel Aviv has made a specific request for a new range of military aircrafts known as AF 15 as well as new cargo planes. Israel has also requested a range of helicopters as well as a new type of aircraft that has the ability to land vertically. In addition, Tel Aviv has requested for more minute missiles as well as more monetary support so that it can work on its Iron Dome system and its range of anti-missile technology. The Haaretz report also revealed that Israel’s requests amount to $3.1 billion.
According to Israeli defence sources, which were also referenced in the Haaretz report, the list of Israeli demands were revealed and discussed during silent and secret meeting between the two sides. The last of these meetings brought together Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon and US Minister of Defence Ashton Carter in Washington. According to Haaretz, the wide-range of requests that have been made by Israel of late are intended to ensure its security and interests in light of the changes to come in the years ahead. Diplomatic correspondent for Haaretz Barak Ravid pointed out various factors that help explain Washington’s course of action, among them being its eagerness to maintain a good strategic alliance with Tel Aviv and the common foundation in Judeo-Christian values among the two countries. Democrats in the US are generally afraid of losing the Jewish vote in the next election as well as their monetary support during the campaign season. These factors, among others, are what have caused the US to increase its monetary support for Israel to $3.1 billion within the course of a year, Ravid explained.
It has also been noted that President Obama has made a point of making the distinction between the US’s monetary and military support for Israel and the political differences that lie between them. In the eyes of the US administration these are two different things. Obama also allegedly gave up his right to reprimand the Israeli prime minister although Netanyahu insulted the US president in his own home and went so far as to give a speech in Congress about his and Israel’s concerns over the nuclear deal with Iran without being invited. Though Netanyahu went against protocol, Obama turned the other cheek and decided to focus on strategic factors instead.
According to an article published by the US-based publication the Christian Science Monitor in 2002, Israel had cost the United States more than $1.6 trillion since 1973, which means that every US citizen had paid $5,700 to Israel according to the US’s population. According to economic specialist Thomas Stover, who is currently based in Washington, the total cost of US military and economic support embodied in the figure mentioned above is more than double the cost of the Vietnam War. It is well known that Stover has angered many Jews over the last few decades due to his research on the Middle East conflict.
The Christian Science Monitor has also confirmed that Israel has recently asked for even more military support and over $4 billion more since last November in addition to an $8 billion loan meant to target the economic crisis currently faced by Israel. Stover went on to say that Israel’s current financial problems lead him to question whether or not it will be able to pay off or manage this loan. Stover also expressed his fear about the US’s defence of Israel and the amount of compensation it provided both Jordan and Egypt in exchange for signing a peace agreement with Tel Aviv, not to mention the overall political cost of the US’s investment in solving the Middle East crisis.
He clarified and emphasised that the amount of money that is publically given to Israel each year in the form of $3.1 billion is only a portion of what has been made clear to the average American citizen who is brainwashed into thinking that this support is strategic to promoting and ensuring democracy in the region. In truth, all of these points do not prove that Israel is essential to ensuring US interests in the region but instead show that there is much more support given to Israel behind closed doors than we know about.
Translated from Rai Al-Youm, 8 February 2016.