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July 2, 2016 / 26 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘aid’

State Department Q&A on Israeli Supplemental Aid to Communities Suffering from Arab Terrorism [video]

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016
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Yvonne Diamond

@JewishPress Don’t know about that, but they’ve been bombing at MCAGCTC for two solid days now . . .

The following is the transcript and video from the State Department Press briefing on June 20th, 2016, regarding the supplemental aid package that Israel approved yesterday to aid Israelis whose businesses have suffered due to the Palestinian Authority Arab terror attacks in Judea and Samaria, and to help improve security for the communities in Judea and Samaria.

Time: 29:55 on the video.

QUESTION (Matt Lee): Did you guys have any reaction to this additional – the supplementary funding that was approved for the West Bank settlements for – over the weekend, yesterday?

MR KIRBY: Yeah. I actually put a statement out.

QUESTION: You did?

MR KIRBY: I did —

QUESTION: I missed it.

MR KIRBY: — yesterday. I can’t believe you’re not sitting around —

QUESTION: Yeah, Sunday —

MR KIRBY: — waiting for my statements.

QUESTION: Sunday afternoon, Kirby, I’m just sitting there looking – staring at my phone —

MR KIRBY: Well, if you had been —

QUESTION: — waiting for your emails.

MR KIRBY: — then you wouldn’t have had to ask that question.

QUESTION: If you’ve already put something out, then —

MR KIRBY: Okay. I’ll let the statement stand. Seems like everybody else got a chance to read it.

QUESTION: We like to hear it directly from you, though.

MR KIRBY: But you did hear it directly from me. I signed it.

QUESTION: You know what I mean, with your own voice. It sort of gives it an added —

MR KIRBY: We’re aware of the funding package. We’re looking into further details. Our position on settlement activity remains clear and consistent: We strongly oppose all settlement activity, which is corrosive to the cause of peace. We continue to look to both sides to demonstrate with actions and policies a genuine commitment to a two-state solution, and actions such as these we believe does exactly the opposite.

QUESTION: Well, wait, wait, but this isn’t for settlement activity, per se. This was not to expand or build new homes.

MR KIRBY: It’s approving more than like $18 million for settlements. It’s approving funding for —

QUESTION: But not for building them. This is for, like, helping businesses and security.

MR KIRBY: But it still runs counter to our view about settlement activity, period.

QUESTION: So securing – adding security to settlements is the same as settlement activity?

MR KIRBY: As I said, we’re still – we are still – we’re aware of this funding package and we’re still looking into it for details. But settlement activity, as we’ve said – there’s nothing – nothing has changed about our concerns about that.

QUESTION: So any money that goes into anything in a West Bank settlement is bad according to you guys?

MR KIRBY: I didn’t say that. I said we are aware of this funding package and we’re looking into the details.

QUESTION: Okay. All right. Okay.

QUESTION (New Reporter): Well, the worry here by the Palestinians is that these kind of steps make annexation of the West Bank all but a foregone conclusion, and they say that some of this money is basically geared to encourage, let’s say, tourism and to expand tourist projects and so on in the occupied West Bank, in the settlements and so on. What do you say to that?

MR KIRBY: As I said in my statement and just a few minutes ago, we’re looking into what this funding package really means. And I think I’m going to leave it at there to – for right now.

 

Jewish Press News Briefs

Liberman Embarks on First visit to DC as Defense Minister Amid Military Aid Dispute

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) is coming to Washington DC on his inaugural visit as Defense Minister against the background of a dispute between the White House and Congress over increasing US support for Israel’s missile defense research and development. He’ll be meeting with US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, who maintained a personal friendship with Liberman’s ousted predecessor, Moshe Ya’alon (Likud). Liberman and Carter are expected to discuss the White House proposal for a long-term US military aid, which would be larger than the current package, but conditioned on Israeli agreement not to solicit additional military aid from Congress.

Last Tuesday the Administration opposed a call by Congress to increase funding for Israel’s missile defense program by $455 million, to $600 million, well above the 2017 fiscal year White House budget request.

Israel is looking to expand the US annual military aid package from the current $3.2 billion to upwards of $4.5 billion, a portion of which would go to purchases from Israeli companies. The White House is looking at a more modest increase over 10 years, and for the entire amount to be spent in the US.

According to a senior defense ministry source speaking to Ma’ariv, the military aid package is not the central purpose of the visit, rather the trip is mainly planned for introductory meetings with key players in the defense department and in Congress. “We don’t expect dramatic breakthroughs in the coming week,” the source said.

Liberman will also meet with the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Committees.

On Wednesday, Liberman will attend the Lockheed Martin roll out ceremony for the F-35 fighter planes purchased by the Israeli air force — the first of which is expected to arrive in Israel in December. The defense minister will also tour an Elbit Systems plant and meet in New York with the defense ministry purchasing delegation.

According to Walla, there is a dispute between the professional echelon in the defense ministry and Prime Minister Netanyahu over the American proposal, with the DM staff recommending signing the aid package now, and Netanyahu preferring to wait out this administration and dealing with the next president, Clinton or Trump, either one of whom would be more pro-Israel.

Liberman is much more liked by the current administration than Netanyahu, because back when Secretary of State John Kerry was still pushing for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement based on the 1967 borders, Liberman, then Israel’s foreign minister, supported the US effort, saying this was the best deal Israel could expect.

In that vein, Liberman is expected to use the opportunity of his US visit to allay fears regarding his hawkish reputation on defense, by making a major dovish statement about the two-state-solution.

JNi.Media

Report: US Using Foreign Aid to Damage Israel’s Military Industry

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

The security agreement between the US and Israel is yet to be signed, and as time goes by it appears that the Americans are in no hurry to complete the deal, Walla reported on Tuesday. Sources at the defense ministry who expected the US aid package to be agreed on by the Passover holiday are seeing the weeks since that target date passing by with little movement from Washington. So far, the Obama Administration has decided to increase the security aid budget to Israel above the current annual $3.2 billion, but in addition they would like to reduce the portion of the budget which may be converted from USD to shekels for IDF purchases from Israeli security manufacturers. That last part would be the most painful, with long-term consequences for Israel’s security.

As part of the US aid package in the past, Israel was allowed to convert a quarter of the money into 3 billion shekel ($786 million) for purchases from Israeli companies. The Israelis object to the American decision to bite into that part of the package, because it would result in a long-term effect on Israel’s defense budget and its military industrial complex.

A former senior defense apparatus official told Walla that “the US plan to cancel the conversion to shekels, even if it’s only a reduction, would have a significant effect on the attractiveness of the entire US security aid package.”

The aid budget offer as it stands today is far lower than Israel’s stated ambition at the start of negotiations with the US. Congressional sources have said that Israel was asking for $4 to $5 billion a year, which over the span of the deal, from 2019 to 2028, could total $50 billion — compared with $30 billion for the 2009 to 2018 package signed with President George W. Bush. The final deal will likely fall between $37.5 billion—the US position, and $40 billion—the amount Israel has come down to. Even at the minimalist, US version, Israel still receives a bump of $750 million over 10 years.

Today the US pays for $3 billion out of Israel’s $15.6 billion defense budget.

The defense source speaking to Walla said an American decision to keep the entire aid package in dollars, to be spent only with US manufacturers, could mean serious out-of-pocket costs for Israel. “For instance,” he explained, “when we purchase the F-35 from the US, it comes with additional derivatives paid for in shekels: we are expected to build an advanced infrastructure for the new squadron, as well as specialized maintenance and special takeoff lanes—for which the US budget converted part would have paid. Cutting it would directly harm the defense budget as well as the military industries.”

Incidentally, as Defense News reported in April, Israel is demanding of Lockheed Martin and the F-35 Joint Program Office to maximize its autonomy over its new stealth fighter force, including its own command, control, communications and computing (C4) system, indigenous weaponry and the ability to perform heavy maintenance in-country rather than at predetermined regional overhaul facilities. No other buyer has asked or received these exceptions for a system that’s considered the most advanced and secret in the US’ possession.

Brig. Gen. Tal Kalman, IAF chief of staff, told an audience in Tel Aviv this year that Israel’s “unique requirements” demand independence in maintaining the stealth fighters. Speaking on Sunday at a conference of Israel Defense and the Fisher Institute for Strategic Air and Space Studies, Kalman said the IAF is going for a “phased and coordinated process” to establish an F-35 logistics center at squadron headquarters at Nevatim Air Base in southern Israel.

JNi.Media

Drop in a Bucket: US Giving Gaza $50 Million in Aid Over 5 Years

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

The United States on Monday announced a $50 million aid program for the Gaza Strip, AP reported. The money, distributed by the US Agency for International Development in partnership with Catholic Relief Services over five years, will be used for humanitarian assistance and jobs creation. Unemployment in Gaza is estimated at more than 40%.

Donald A. Blome, the US consul general in Jerusalem, said the money will help pay for “the dire needs that are obvious in Gaza.”

No one in the State Dept. on this occasion addressed the green elephant in the tent, namely the fact that Hamas has squandered millions of its assets on war preparations against Israel, while Gaza has become today’s metaphor for poverty and neglect.

According to the World Bank’s fact sheet, economic activity in Gaza remains volatile and almost entirely dependent on aid and remittances, with growth rates determined by (i) the level of aid inflows and (ii) the degree of trade restrictions. Gaza’s final consumption is 1.6 times larger than its GDP, and its investment a mere 5 percent of GDP, predominantly in housing. Estimated exports are very low at less than five percent of GDP. Gaza’s GDP per capita is half of that in the PA, and its poverty rate is roughly twice as high as those in the PA.

According to the PA Ministry of National Economy, Gaza has sustained damages of roughly $3 billion since initiation of the 2014 conflict with Israel.

The Palestinian Food Industries Union estimates that Gaza’s food industry has suffered damages estimated at around $150 million, with many factories in inoperable condition. The largest factories that used to provide up to 70% of local market needs were destroyed and will face a slow rebuilding process, as access to construction materials will likely be limited.

Data collected by the PA’s Gaza Coastal Municipal Water Utility (CMWU) and Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) indicates a significant shortage of water services and a severe public health threat to the population of Gaza.

The energy crisis in Gaza has been identified as a primary constraint to economic development even prior to the current conflict. The capacity of Gaza’s only power plant (GPP) was restricted by limited fuel availability due to the trade restrictions and a poor distribution network. The GPP remains inoperable to date and power outages of up to 18 hours a day continue in most areas across Gaza. This has exacerbated the already challenging electricity sector situation in Gaza. Electricity network damage of an estimated $42.5 million has been sustained.

So the $50 million over 5 years from the US should work miracles.

David Israel

US Investment in – NOT Foreign Aid to – Israel

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

In 2016, Israel is a major contributor to – and a global co-leader with – the USA in the areas of research, development, manufacturing and launching of micro (100 kg), mini (300 kg) and medium (1,000 kg) size satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), as well as joint space missions, space communications and space exploration sounding rocket and scientific balloon flights. According to NASA Administrator, Charles Bolden, “Israel is known for its innovation. The October 15, 2015 joint agreement gives us the opportunity to cooperate with Israel on the journey to Mars, [highlighting Israel’s unique, extremely lightweight technologies, which conserve energy]….”

Israel is no longer a supplicant – as it used to be in its early years of independence – transformed from a net-national security and economic consumer to a net-national security and economic producer, generating substantial, military and commercial dividends to the US, which exceed the highly appreciated $3.1 BN annual investment, in Israel, by the US.

The annual US investment in Israel – erroneously defined as “foreign aid” (Foreign Military Financing) – has yielded one of the highest rates of return on US investments overseas. Israel is neither “foreign,” nor does it receive “aid.”

From a one-way-street relationship, the US-Israel connection has evolved into an exceptionally productive two-way-street, mutually-beneficial alliance. The US is the senior partner, and Israel the junior partner, in a win-win, geo-strategic partnership, which transcends the 68-year-old tension between all US presidents (from Truman through Obama) and Israeli prime ministers (from Ben Gurion through Netanyahu) over the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian issue.

According to the former Supreme Commander of NATO forces and Secretary of State, the late General Alexander Haig: “Israel constitutes the largest US aircraft carrier, which does not require a single US boot on board, cannot be sunk, deployed in a most critical region to the US economy and national security. And, if there were not Israel in the eastern flank of the Mediterranean, the US would have to deploy – to the region – a few more real aircraft carriers and tens of thousands of troops, which would have cost the US taxpayer some $15 BN annually. All of which is spared by the existence of Israel.”

Israel has been the most cost-effective, battle-tested laboratory of the US defense industries; the most reliable and practical beachhead/outpost of the US defense forces; sharing with the US unique intelligence, battle experience and battle tactics.  Thus, Israel extends the US strategic hand, at a time when the US is experiencing draconian cuts in its defense budget, curtailing the size of its military force and the global deployment of troops, while facing tough international industrial-defense competition and dramatically intensified threats of Islamic terrorism overseas and on the US mainland.

For example, in 2016, Israel’s Air Force, which flies US-made aircraft shares with the US Air Force and the US manufacturers of the F-16, F-15 and additional US aircraft systems, real-time online, daily operational, maintenance and repair lessons, derived from Israel’s daily battle experience, which upgrades US national and homeland security, as well as enhances research and development, global competitiveness, exports and employment base of the US defense industries (e.g., Lockheed-Martin, McDonnell Douglas, Bell Helicopter, Boeing Defense, Northrop Grumman, etc.).

The plant manager of Fort Worth, Texas-based General Dynamics (Lockheed Martin), which manufactures the F-16, asserted that Israeli lessons have spared the manufacturer 10-20 years of research and development, leading to over 700 modifications in the current generation of the F-16, “valued at a mega-billion dollar bonanza to the manufacturer.”  One may conclude that St. Louis, Missouri-based McDonnel Douglas, the manufacturer of the F-15 benefits in the same manner.

Similar lessons have been shared with the US Army, Navy and Marine Corps and the US manufacturers of tanks, armed personnel carriers, missile launchers, missiles, night navigation systems and hundreds of additional military and homeland security systems, manufactured by the US and utilized by Israel. For instance, the Chattanooga, Tennessee-based Northrup Grumman plant, which manufactures explosive-neutralizing robots has increased its exports since Israel’s decision to employ its product, benefitting from weekly telephone conference calls with Israeli experts, who have shared with Northrup Grumman their operational lessons. Israel is to the US defense industry what a triple-A tenant is to a shopping mall – enhancing value and drawing clients.

According to General George Keegan, a former US Air Force Intelligence Chief, the value of intelligence shared by Israel with the US – exposing the air force capabilities of adversaries, their new military systems, electronics and jamming devices – “could not be procured with five CIAs…. The ability of the US Air Force in particular, and the Army in general, to defend whatever position it has in NATO, owes more to the Israeli intelligence input than it does to any other single source of intelligence, be it satellite reconnaissance, be it technology intercept, or what have you.”

A similar assessment was made by the late Senator Daniel Inouye, who was the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee and the Appropriations Committee: “Israel provides the US with more intelligence than all NATO countries combined.”  In July 2003, Brig. General Michael Vane, Deputy Chief of Staff at the US Army Training and Doctrine Command stated that Israel’s counter-terrorism experience shaped the US war on terrorism.

Moreover, US Special Operations units on their way to Iraq and Afghanistan are trained by Israeli experts in tackling suicide bombers, car bombs and the deadly Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Upon arrival at the front, they are assisted by Israeli-developed (and co-developed with the US) unmanned aerial vehicles. Moreover, an Israeli armor plating technology, installed on U.S. military vehicles minimizes US fatalities, and the innovative “Israeli bandage” is employed to stop severe bleeding of injured US soldiers. US bomb squads leverage Israel’s unique counter-terrorism experience, improving their explosives neutralizing capabilities abroad and on the US mainland.

Israel has shared with the US its battle tactics and urban warfare experience, gained during wars against conventional Arab armies and Islamic/Palestinian terrorists.  In 2014, General (ret.) Chuck Krulak, former Commandant of the US Marine Corps, stated: “The US battle tactics formulation, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas – the intellectual Mecca of the US Army – is based on the Israeli book.”  In 1991, during the First Gulf War, General Krulak fought Russian tanks operated by Saddam Hussein, by applying the 1973 Israeli battle tactics against Soviet tanks employed by Egypt.

In November, 1952, following Israel’s 1948-49 War of Independence, General Omar Bradley, the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, proposed to expand strategic cooperation with Israel, only to be rebuffed by the Department of State, which opposed the establishment of the Jewish State.

However, Israel has evolved into the most effective US strategic beachhead/outpost in the Middle East and beyond, as demonstrated during the 1967 Six-Day-War, when Israel obliterated the Egyptian military, aborting the pro-Soviet Egyptian attempt to topple the pro-US Arab oil-producing regimes, which would have devastated US economic and military interests at a time of high-dependency on Persian Gulf oil.  In 1969, Israel shared with the US its own flare system, which diverted anti-aircraft heat-seeking missiles away from their targets, saving the lives of many gunship pilots during the Vietnam War.

In 1970, Israel’s power projection forced a rollback of the Soviet-backed Syrian invasion of pro-US Jordan, which aimed at toppling the Hashemite regime, and then surging into Saudi Arabia, which would have triggered an anti-US geo-strategic avalanche.

Following Israel’s October 1973 War against the Soviet-armed Egypt and Syria, some 50 US military experts, headed by General Donn Starry, spent six months studying Israel’s battle experience and tactics and the captured Soviet military systems, producing eight thick volumes, which tilted the global balance of power in favor of the US, upgraded the US defense of Europe during the Cold War, enhanced the US air and land battle doctrines during the 1991 Gulf War, and improved the global competitiveness of the US defense industries.

In 1989, 1969 and 1966, Israel snatched a Soviet Mig-23, a most advanced P-12 Soviet early warning radar and ELINT (electronic signals intelligence) system, and a Soviet Mig-21 from Syria, Egypt and Iraq, respectively. All were transferred to the US, evaluated and integrated into the US battle tactics, counter-measures and the defense industrial competitive edge, tilting the global balance of power in favor of the US.

On July 4, 1976, Israel’s Entebbe hostage-rescue operation was a turning point in the battle against anti-US, pro-USSR Islamic terrorism.  In 1981, in defiance of the US Administration, Israel devastated Iraq’s nuclear reactor, sparing the US a nuclear confrontation against Iraq in 1991, and snatching the pro-US Saudis from the jaws of pro-Soviet Iraq.  In 1982, Israel destroyed twenty advanced Soviet surface-to-air missile (SAM) batteries, deployed in Lebanon/Syria and throughout the world, downing 89 Soviet Mig-21s, Mig-23s and Su-20s in the process. Israel proved that the most advanced mobile Soviet SAMs could be jammed, penetrated and destroyed, promptly sharing the battle tactics and electronic warfare innovations with the US Air Force and defense industrial base, providing the US with a significant geo-strategic and industrial game-changing edge over Moscow.  In 2007, Israel destroyed a Syrian-North Korean-Iranian nuclear plant, dealing a blow to global terrorism, sparing humanity the trauma of a nuclear Assad in 2016.

In March, 2007, General John Craddock, the Supreme Commander of NATO, told the House Armed Services: “In the Middle East, Israel is the closest ally of the US, consistently supporting our interests through security cooperation.” Even CNN – which is generally critical of Israel – agreed that Israel’s war against Hamas terrorists advanced homeland security in pro-US Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.

A June 2015 strategic agreement intensified cooperation between the air forces of both countries, establishing twelve teams of officers and codifying a widening range of joint annual agendas: operations, battle tactics, training, maintenance, repairs, airborne medicine, flight safety, etc., in the face of mutual threats, joint interests and constrained budgets.  US combat pilots benefit uniquely during joint drills with their Israeli colleagues, who always fly in a “do-or-die” state of mind – a result of Israel’s narrow geographic waistline – which stretches the capabilities of the aircraft to new dimensions and generates more daring and innovative maneuvers, shared with their US colleagues. Recently, Israel’s Air Force developed a ground-breaking method of identifying, repairing and preempting cracks in old combat planes, such as the F-16, and promptly shared that information with the US Air Force and manufacturer. Instead of grounding planes for six months and preoccupying hundreds of mechanics, the Israeli-developed system requires two weeks and only a few mechanics, yielding significant economic and national security benefits.

In 2016, against the backdrop of mounting conventional and terrorist threats, the proliferation of Islamic terrorist cells in the US, the collapse of Europe’s military power projection, the Islamization of Turkey’s national security policy, the erosion of the Western posture of deterrence, and the growing instability, fragmentation, unpredictability and doubtful reliability of pro-US Arab regimes, Israel is the only stable, reliable, predictable, capable, democratic and unconditional ally of the US. Israel constitutes a critical obstacle to the megalomaniacal, Islamic imperialism, enhancing the national and homeland security of the US and its Arab allies. Unlike Europe, Israel is able and willing to flex its muscles.

An Israel-like ally in the Persian Gulf might have dramatically reduced the US military involvement in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean.

The raging, anti-US Arab Street, the melting UN-minded European Street, the commercially and militarily innovative pro-US Israeli Street, and the intensifying threats to global sanity and the US national and homeland security, all highlight Israel’s role as a special strategic partner of the USA – and not a member of the “foreign aid” club of supplicants – increasingly contributing to mutually-beneficial geo-strategic US-Israel joint ventures.

{Yoram will be in the US during May and September, 2016, available for speaking engagements (http://bit.ly/1W5CrSr)}

Yoram Ettinger

Turkey Promises Housing Aid to Gaza

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Turkey has promised to send 3,000 new pre-fabricated houses to Gaza, although it is not clear how or when they will be delivered.

The announcement was made by Palestinian Authority unity government Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, who was quoted by Voice of Israel public radio. The houses, which are easy to assemble, are intended to replace those destroyed in air strikes by Israeli fighter jets aiming at concealed rocket launchers and weapons storage sites.

The PA unity government prime minister said an international donor conference may also meet in Oslo on September 5 to discuss the issue of rebuilding Gaza.

Hana Levi Julian

Palestinian ploy to avoid “international pressure” from donor countries

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Palestinian Media Watch reported Thursday that PA Deputy Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Ziyad Abu Ein has admitted the Palestinian Authority plans to dupe the international community by funnelling $130 million for Arab terrorists in Israeli jails through the Palestine Liberation Organization. 

The watchdog said cited the al-Ayyam newspaper (June 1): “This would be a change of name and nothing more… the new situation would make possible the provision of new resources to support prisoners’ issues, without allowing forces of the US Congress or some European parliaments to attempt to blackmail the PA or to take steps against it.'”

PA Minister: We’ll launder money for terrorist pensions

Furthermore, PMW said that pa, speaking to Palestinian Authority TV on June 1, Abu Ein praised Palestinian Authority Chairman Abu Mazen for ramping up the prisoners’ state pensions, and said the PLO – the parent organization to the Palestinian Authority  – will “take care of the [prisoner] issue”

“The [Palestinian] leadership wants to keep this holy issue away from the influence of the donor countries, the interference of the donor countries, and the occasional negative influence of the donor countries, by giving it [the prisoner issue] its holiness and assigning it to the leadership of the struggle of our Palestinian people. Who is the leadership of the struggle of our Palestinian people? The PLO… All the authority, all the laws, the budget, the officials and staff will be a part of the Prisoners and Released Prisoners’ Authority, which will belong to the PLO, to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and to the Executive Committee of the PLO.”

 

Meir Halevi Siegel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/palestinian-ploy-to-avoid-international-pressure-from-donor-countries/2014/06/12/

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