“Astonishing” American support for Israel guarantees the country 10 more years of security aid from Washington, and probably a higher amount despite sequestration, according to sources quoted Tuesday by the US-based Defense News.
“Support for Israel in the United States is astonishing. I have no concerns that aid to Israel will be diminished,” said Stuart Eizenstat, a former official who negotiated an aid package during the administration Bill Clinton.
The current 10-year aid package, worth $30 billion, expires in 2018, but negotiations already are in progress for the next agreement that will cover the decade until 2027.
Israel has three points in its favor, despite the sequestration – immense popularity among Americans, the threat of war in the increasingly unstable Middle East, and the threat of a nuclear Iran.
At the heart of Washington’s dependence on Israel is Jerusalem’s immense intelligence establishment, which frequently has supplied information far more accurate than what the Pentagon comes up with. A classic example is Israel’s warning several years, rejected by the United States, that Iran did not suspend its nuclear development
“There’s no other foreign country favored in terms of assistance; and this support is bipartisan, bicameral and largely protected by sequestration,” said Eizenstat. He told Israeli business leaders in Washington on Monday that he is not worried about the level of future American aid.
“It is in the interest of Congress and future administrations to sustain or even enhance aid to Israel, particularly given the turmoil in this region and all the threats and pressures on Israel,” he declared.
The demands by the Palestinian Authority, which wants to become an independent state based on Israel’s surrendering more than half of the country and accepting foreign Arabs who would reduce Jews to a minority, no longer are a sledgehammer that the Obama administration can gold over Israel’s head,
PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas has more or less lost all trust in Washington since he played out his hand and dumped the beloved American ides of direct negotiations with Israel by going to the United Nations for recognition.
Howard Berman, a former chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Defense News that resumption of l peace negotiations would “improve the climate” for a new 10-year aid deal but added, “I can tell you the special and strong relationship with Israel is enduring … It is not linked to any particular issue.”