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Sunday, July 18, 2010

US - Israel security ties improving

The one area where cooperation between the US and Israel has improved under Obama is security. It's not that it was bad before - it's that the Obama administration is providing even more money to Israel than the Bush administration did, and according to the Washington Post, Israel gets more bang for its buck than any other country.
While public attention has focused on the fierce diplomatic disputes between Israel and the United States over settlement expansion in Palestinian territories, security and military ties between the two nations have grown ever closer during the Obama administration.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who has worked decades in Washington, "believes we are cooperating on military-to-military relations in an unprecedented manner," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said.

Military relations were very close during the Bush administration, but "in many ways the cooperation has been extended and perhaps enhanced in different areas" during the Obama administration, a senior Israeli official acknowledged.

Elliott Abrams, a former senior Bush administration official and a frequent critic of the Obama administration's policy toward Israel, gives the White House high marks for its handling of the security relationship, saying it is "very smart" to insulate it from the diplomatic turmoil.

"It is the sounds of silence," he said. "I do not hear from Israeli officials and officers any griping, and that is in a context when there has been a lot of griping in the past year about everything else."


Under an agreement signed toward the end of the Bush administration, annual U.S. military assistance to Israel has been boosted from $2.5 billion in 2009 to $3 billion in 2011, meaning that almost a quarter of Israel's actual defense expenditures comes from the United States, according to Anthony H. Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Obama's Iron Dome money would be on top of that largesse, already the most military assistance to any country.

Unlike most other countries, which are required to use U.S. military assistance to buy U.S. weapons and technology, Israel is permitted to use 26 percent of the funds for the development and production of its own weapons. This arrangement gives Israel "five or six times the value per dollar as a country like Egypt or Jordan," Cordesman said.
Whether this will continue in the event that there continues to be no progress on the diplomatic front remains to be seen. But for now, it's good.


At 10:04 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Its guaranteed there will be no progress with the Palestinians.

Whether the US understands this is the open question. I doubt it does.

At 11:08 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - here is a letter printed today in the Boston Globe in your old hometown. I will let it speak for itself:

"RE: THE Associated Press article “United front for Obama, Netanyahu’’ (Page A5, July 7). As American Jews who have worked with Israelis and Palestinians committed to peace with justice, we believe that President Obama will best serve the security of the Israeli people when he goes beyond “a carefully choreographed White House embrace’’ to help the Israeli people chart a new path toward sustainable peace."

"Far from showing “restraint,’’ the current Israeli government has escalated tensions by displacing Palestinians in East Jerusalem, expanding settlements, restricting freedom of speech for dissidents within Israel, and ignoring human rights law with a blockade that has 80 percent of Gaza’s civilians on the edge of malnutrition, according to Henry Siegman, former director of the American Jewish Congress. Israel must change course."

"Many in the United States, including a growing number of American Jews, will thank President Obama for a bit of tough love after the public embrace."



Just in case you wondered why some American Jews think Obama has not shown Israel enough "tough love!" Hmmm...

The text can be found here: Read it all

Can you guess its a real even-handed account of why the "peace process" has gone nowhere? Yeah, sure!

What could go wrong indeed

At 11:08 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

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