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October 25, 2016 / 23 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘aid’

American Military Aid: Bad for America; Worse for Israel

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website,  Abu Yehuda}

See, you trust in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; where on if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him. – Isaiah 36:6

Reactions to the signing of a 10-year $38 billion memorandum of understanding (MOU) for American military aid to Israel are coming in, as predictable as the moon and the tides. The man Netanyahu calls Israel’s “worst Prime Minister ever”, Ehud Barak, claims that Netanyahu could have obtained another $7 billion a year if only he hadn’t opposed Obama’s Iran deal so strongly. Similar remarks have come from the parliamentary opposition, unsurprisingly. Others thank America for its commitment at a time that its own military budgets are being slashed. Still others curse it for helping Israel with its continued ‘genocide’ against the ‘Palestinians’, who have tripled in number since 1970.

The truth is that Israel does not need and should phase out military aid from the US. It is bad for Israel and bad for the US.

  • Israel doesn’t need it: The $3.8 billion per year that will come from the US is about a quarter of Israel’s 2015-16 defense budget of $15.47 billion. This is a lot of money, but consider that the government’s overall budget is about $89 billion, and Israel’s gross domestic product today is close to $300 billion, almost double what it was 10 years ago.

In addition, the new agreement phases out Israel’s ability to spend any of it outside of the US. In the past, up to about a quarter of the aid could be spent in Israel. Does anyone doubt that many items can be procured here or elsewhere, at lower cost? I don’t. The F-35 alone costs about $200 million per aircraft. Are there alternatives? We might be able to find out if we went shopping with our own money (possibly the F-15SE would become available).

Finally, increased investment in our military industries would improve our ability to sell our products to other countries, helping to offset the loss of US aid.

  • Aid gives the US administration too much leverage over Israeli policies and actions:  PM Netanyahu will be meeting with Barack Obama next week at the UN. Obama will certainly make demands about Israeli-PA relations, the blockade of Gaza, and more. Do we want to give him a club to hold over our heads?

During the Gaza War in 2014, Obama cut off the supply of Hellfire missiles and other items in response to (tendentious) complaints that Israel had deliberately shelled a UN school. The more we can reduce our dependence on aid, the more equipment like this can be manufactured at home.

Israel needs freedom of action to respond to threats. The aid comes with too many strings attached.

  • Aid distorts our military purchase decisions: If you can get your army boots – or fighter aircraft – “for free” then maybe you settle for something that doesn’t meet your needs quite as well as a product  you have to pay for.  The decisions about what we will be given are based in part on US policy objectives and, since the aid is in effect a direct subsidy to the US defense industry, domestic American considerations – not what’s best for Israel.

For example, it has been suggested that manned fighter aircraft will be much less important in future warfare than drones, but we get ‘free’ fighter planes from America and build our own drones; so we have lots and lots of manned fighter planes – maybe more than we need.

The F-35, with its cost and all its problems, stands out. As I wrote a few weeks ago, would Israel even have considered replacing its F-16 fleet with F-35s if the first batch weren’t ‘free’?

  • Aid corrupts our military decision-makers: The word ‘corrupts’ is a strong word, but may not be out of place. If you are a Chief of Staff, and a quarter of your budget comes from America, wouldn’t you take the US administration’s wishes into account when considering whether or not to take some particular action (say, bombing Iranian nuclear installations)? How could you not do so? Enough said.
  • Aid cripples the development of our own military industries: This may be the most important consideration of all. Although the new MOU represents an increase from the previous $3.1 billion a year, it phases out over five years the ability to spend up to about a quarter of it for locally-produced goods. If we don’t have the capability to produce our own weapons, our dependence on the US becomes even greater, and we lose the jobs and technical know-how that come from it. Buying our own would pump additional money into our economy, which helps offset the loss of American aid. Even the IDF’s boots, formerly made in Israel, are now ordered from the US.
  • Aid doesn’t necessarily guarantee a qualitative edge: One of the rationales for US military aid was that the US promised to maintain our “qualitative military edge” (QME) over our enemies, as a way of counteracting their numerical superiority. But the US has more and more been selling its best weapons to anyone who can pay for them. The way to maintain the QME, then, is for Israel to use her technological abilities to develop weapons and countermeasures for her own use that will not be available to her enemies.
  • Aid damages Israel’s standing as a sovereign state: A nation that is dependent on another for its defense is a satellite, not an ally. In order to maintain her national self-respect, Israel should pay for her own defense. In addition, Israel’s accepting aid provides ammunition for anti-Israel and anti-Jewish propaganda in America.
  • Phasing out aid is better for America: The US is burdened by a large and growing debt. The end of military aid to Israel can only help America meet her own civilian and military needs.


Naturally, there will be objections.

Israel can’t afford expensive systems like the F-35 without aid. First, it’s not true, and second, maybe we don’t need such expensive systems, or so many of them.

But the US makes the world’s best weapons. Perhaps. If so, we should buy them with our own money. I’m not suggesting we break relations with the US. And who is to say that our home-made products won’t fit our unique needs better?

But it takes time to build up our industries. True, which is why I want to phase out the aid over a period of years rather than cutting it off sharply.

But what about the close cooperation between Israeli and the US defense industries? I’m not suggesting that such cooperation couldn’t continue, but in a framework of mutually beneficial business deals when indicated, as partners rather than clients.

But AIPAC works so hard making it possible. Yes, and Israel should be grateful to AIPAC and to its friends in the US Congress that for decades have made it possible for Israel to survive in its dangerous neighborhood against great odds. But the situation has changed. What used to be a necessity became a luxury, and then changed into a dangerous overindulgence. It’s not like there aren’t other critical issues that AIPAC could focus on.


In recent years much has changed in the world and in the Middle East. Israel, which was a third-rate power that managed to win her wars against great odds, became a first-rate power that nevertheless seems to be stymied and incapable of decisively prevailing over much weaker opponents. Although there are several reasons for this, one of the main ones is the increasing influence and control over Israeli decision-making by the US – whose government, at the same time, has become less and less supportive.

I’m sorry to say that I believe the US is in serious economic, social, political and even security trouble today – truly a broken reed. I hope it will repair itself. But like Isaiah’s Egypt, it is not a staff to lean upon.

Vic Rosenthal

UN Halting Humanitarian Aid Following Air Attack on Aleppo Convoy [video]

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

The UN has announced on Tuesday that it is suspending all aid convoys across Syria, following an air attack on relief trucks near Aleppo that killed a Syrian Arab Red Crescent staff member and about 20 civilians, and destroyed a warehouse and hospital.

UN humanitarian aid spokesman Jens Laerke told reporters in Geneva that “as an immediate security measure, other convoy movements in Syria have been suspended for the time being pending further assessment of the security situation.” But he added that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) remains “committed to stay and deliver to everybody in need in Syria.”

Local war monitors are blaming either the Syrians or the Russians for the strike against the aid convoy near Aleppo on Monday, which came after the Syrians had declared an end to the week-long ceasefire.

The attack may have been done in retaliation for last Saturday’s airstrikes by US planes against Syrian regime forces who had been under siege by ISIS in the town of Deir ez-Zor. At least 62 Syrian servicemen were killed and more than 100 wounded in what the Americans described as a mistake.

Igor Konashenkov, an official spokesman for the Russian defense ministry said on Tuesday that “no airstrikes on the UN humanitarian convoy in the southwestern outskirts of Aleppo were carried out by the Russian or Syrian forces.”

“The Russian side did not monitor the movement of the UN truck convoy that came under attack near Aleppo after the humanitarian cargo was delivered to that city,” he added.

“If this callous attack is found to be a deliberate targeting of humanitarians, it would amount to a war crime,” UN aid chief Stephen O’Brien said in a statement. He noted that the Syrian government had given the humanitarian convoy permission to move into Aleppo shortly before the attack.

Peter Maurer, president of the ICRC, released a statement saying “yesterday’s attack is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and it is unacceptable. Failing to protect humanitarian workers and structures might have serious repercussions on ongoing humanitarian work in the country, hence depriving millions of people of aid essential to their survival.”


Israeli Embassy in Dakar Gave Sheep to Needy for Eid al-Adha

Friday, September 16th, 2016

Israel’s Ambassador to Senegal Paul Hirschson extended the best wishes of the Jewish State last week for an “Eid Mubarak” on the occasion of the Islamic Festival of the Sacrifice, Eid al-Adha, in a unique fashion.

“Khalif Ba helped us give 70 sheep to needy families for Tabaski, (Eid al Adha), Senegal’s most revered holiday,” Hirschson said in a post on the Embassy’s Facebook page. “We also gave three sheep each to six orphanages in Dakar.

Senegalese intellectual Penda Mbow.

“Penda Mbow, one of the most significant intellectuals in Senegal, joined the group as a representative of the First Lady,” he added.

Israel saves and enhances lives daily in what may be one of the least developed parts of the world, he told JewishPress.com in a separate email exchange.

Trade, investment and joint ventures are up, with Israeli companies prospering while generating employment and skills locally.

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu Representative in DC to Negotiate $38 Billion Aid Deal

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Brigadier General Yaakov Nagel, Israel’s acting National Security Council, arrived in Washington DC on Tuesday to meet with President Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice, in preparations for signing a new US military aid package. The new US aid deal, which the two governments have been negotiating since November 2015, awards Israel $38 billion over 10 years.

Nagel met with US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro to work out the final details before leaving for Washington — including the text of the official announcements. The new aid package is expected to average $3.8 billion a year, a considerable cut from Netanyahu’s initial request for $4.5 billion. The deal is also contingent on Israel agreeing not to approach Congress for additional funds, as in the case of the Iron Dome missile defense system, which Congress has been paying for outside the annual aid package. Now an estimated $5 billion out of the package will be spent over 10 years on missile defense development.

In other words, the new aid package is only adding $300 million to the previous amount. To remind you, the sum of $3 billion annually was set during the Camp David peace negotiations with Egypt, as compensation to Israel for giving up the Sinai peninsula as a military asset. That amount has never been raised in close to 40 years, even though the current value of that annual package would have been $10.48 billion.

The critical disagreement between the two sides over the current deal has been whether or not Israel could continue to invest a percentage of the aid package in Israeli made military products. The Obama Administration wanted the entire amount to stay in US corporations, which would have been devastating to Israeli manufacturers and to the IDF. A short episode during the 2014 Gaza War, in which the Obama Administration stopped shipping to Israel all defense items, including Hellfire missiles, served as a memorable lesson to the Israeli security apparatus about the need to increase its self-reliance.

The new deal ended up adding six years in which Israel can continue to spend as much as 26% of the US aid money on Israeli made products, as well as another 13% for fuel purchases. By the seventh year, or halfway into Clinton’s or Trump’s second term, the Israeli military industrial complex would have to quit US aid cold turkey — Unless Netanyahu or his successor is able to renegotiate that part — depending on who is in the White House and who controls Congress at the time.

David Israel

Head of Mid-East Think Tank Suing Obama over Aid to Nuclear Israel

Friday, August 12th, 2016

Grant Smith, director of the Institute for Research: Middle East Policy (IRMEP), has filed a lawsuit against the entire US government, including President Obama, Secretary Kerry, CIA Director Brennan and Defense Secretary Carter, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief for the $234 billion the US has given Israel in military foreign aid since 1976 — in violation of US law that prohibits aiding countries with nuclear capability who are non-signatories to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Smith insists that his lawsuit is not about foreign policy (which the court would have dismissed outright), but “about the rule of law, presidential power, the structural limits of the US Constitution, and the right of the public to understand the functions of government and informed petition of the government for redress.”

In an article Smith published in Sept. 2014, when the current lawsuit was initially launched (Lawsuit Challenges U.S. “Ambiguity” Toward Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal), he explains his real reasons why Israel must not be allowed to have a nuclear arsenal:

“In a crisis or time of increased tension, Israel can threaten to use its arsenal as a lever to coerce the transfer of US military supplies and other support rather than pursue peaceful alternatives,” Smith argues, adding that “the international community views the US as hypocritical when it cites the NPT in reference to Iran or North Korea.”

Actually, we’ve seen up close how the international community views this “hypocrisy” just a year ago. As soon as it became clear in the summer of 2015 that Iran was going to be allowed to develop its nuclear weapon, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf states went on a mad dash to acquire their own nukes. Why hadn’t they done the same in all the decades since Israel had allegedly first acquired its own nuclear device? Because they couldn’t imagine a situation whereby Israel would use it against them.

The lawsuit cites the fact that the White House and Israeli government are currently negotiating a new ten-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to serve as the basis for a FY2019-2028 foreign aid package of 4 to 5 billion dollars annually (actually, that’s the Israeli request, so far the most the White House has mentioned is $3.5 billion). In addition, the suit claims, “Congress will soon pass and the President will sign into law the final installment of the current FY2009-2018 foreign aid package. The US Treasury will provide an interest-bearing cash advance in October 2017 that Israel can use to fund its own military-industrial programs and purchase US arms.” That, too is more what Israel has been hoping for and less what the Administration is willing to give. At the moment, the US wants the entire military aid package to be used in American factories.

Smith claims the US aid deal with Israel is in violation of the Symington and Glenn amendments to the Foreign Aid Act of 1961.

The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 was modified by the Symington Amendment (Section 669 of the FAA) in 1976, which banned US economic and military assistance, and export credits to countries that deliver or receive, acquire or transfer nuclear enrichment technology when they do not comply with IAEA regulations and inspections.

The Glenn Amendment was later adopted in 1977, and provided the same sanctions against countries that acquire or transfer nuclear reprocessing technology or explode or transfer a nuclear device.

Noam Chomsky, a vociferous anti-Israel critic, has blamed successive US presidents of violating the law by granting an exception for Israel. The fact is that US presidents have granted similar benefits to India and Pakistan as well.

Smith’s suit says “Defendants have collectively engaged in a violation of administrative procedure … while prohibiting the release of official government information about Israel’s nuclear weapons program, particularly ongoing illicit transfers of nuclear weapons material and technology from the US to Israel.”

The suit claims that “these violations manifest in gagging and prosecuting federal officials and contractors who publicly acknowledge Israel’s nuclear weapons program, imposing punitive economic costs on public interest researchers who attempt to educate the public about the functions of government, refusing to make bona fide responses to journalists and consistently failing to act on credible information available in the government and public domain. These acts serve a policy that has many names all referring to the same subterfuge, ‘nuclear opacity,’ ‘nuclear ambiguity,’ and ‘strategic ambiguity.’”

The Institute for Research: Middle East Policy is an enormous archive of newspaper articles, books, audio, video, lawsuits, and surveys, dedicated to Israel, or, rather, the vilification of the Jewish State. Despite the institute’s name’s reference to being about Middle East policy, it’s all Israel, mostly about the secrets and clandestine policies of Israel. But it’s doubtful the current lawsuit, almost two years in the system by now, will go anywhere in federal court. In the end, the president is permitted to do whatever he or she wants in foreign policy, using good advice and their own intellectual faculties.

Let’s all vote for a president who is endowed with both.

David Israel

UN Special Envoy Calls for Immediate Halt of Aid Money to Gaza

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

United Nations Special Envoy Laurie Cardoza-Moore has called on all international humanitarian organizations to immediately halt all aid money to Gaza until it can be proven that the money isn’t being squandered by Hamas. Her statement came hours after a UN employee in Gaza was indicted for funneling charity donations to pay for Hamas naval units and days after the director of the Evangelical World Vision charity in Gaza was accused of diverting as much as $50M in charitable donations to the Islamist terror group.

Cardoza-Moore who represents the World Council of Independent Christian Churches (WCICC) at the United Nations and is President of the Evangelical Christian organization “Proclaiming Justice to the Nations” (PJTN) stated: “The enemy of the people of Gaza is Hamas, not Israel. Hamas has hijacked the coastal strip and rules over its people with an iron fist. For decades, the leadership of Hamas has robbed its people of aid money. The time has come to halt all aid money into the Gaza Strip as long as Hamas is in control.“

She continued: “If the international community wants to help the impoverished people of Gaza, they must work to free them from Hamas. It is unacceptable that hundreds of millions of dollars are likely being directly transferred to the coffers of an international terrorist organization in the name of Christianity and humanity. No Church or humanitarian organization should send a single cent to Gaza as long as it is run by a band of murderous terrorist bandits.”

Cardoza-Moore contacted World Vision last week to find out how an Evangelical Christian organization could hire a Hamas terrorist sympathizer to distribute aid money — but to date she has not received a response. In addition she has lodged a formal complaint with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and demanded that they immediately stop distributing aid to Gaza.

PJTN, a not-for-profit organization, was established to educate Christians about their Biblical responsibility to stand with their Jewish brethren and Israel, utilizing powerful film and video presentations, a variety of grassroots rallies, events and speaking engagements to facilitate dialogue between the Christian and Jewish communities in support of the State of Israel and against global genocidal anti-Semitism.

David Israel

Israel Arrests Second Gaza Aid Official Moonlighting for Hamas

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

Wahid Abdullah Borsch, 38, from Jabaliya in the Gaza Strip, was arrested in July on suspicion of using his employment by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to carry out missions for Hamas. UNDP carries out housing and development projects for the Gaza population, including renovating homes damaged in the military conflicts with Israel.

The Southern District Prosecutor has indicted Wahid Borsch in Beer Sheva District Court for assisting the Hamas organization.

According to Shabak, Borsch has worked for UNDP since 2003, and his responsibility included demolishing damaged homes and removing rubbish from the area. In his interrogation Borsch revealed that in 2014 he had been directed by a senior Hamas official to focus on his work at UNDP in ways that benefit Hamas. These benefits included diverting UNDP resources to building a clandestine marina in the northern Gaza Strip in 2015, to be used by the Hamas military arm.

Borsch also confessed to influencing his superiors at UNDP to prioritize the rehabilitation in areas where Hamas seniors lived — following instructions he had received from Hamas.

Borsch told his interrogators about several cases in which Hamas openly and brutally usurped the UNDP activities to its needs. For instance, whenever a UNDP rehabilitation project exposed military equipment or tunnel openings in the homes being renovated, Hamas would take over the site and collect the loot — in violation of the clear protocol requiring a report to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), which is in charge of removing and destroying illegal military equipment.

Borsch revealed the names of several Hamas agents who have penetrated humanitarian aid organizations in Gaza, as well as information regarding storage facilities, bunkers and tunnels appropriated by Hamas.

Shabak commented that the Borsch case, coming as it does on the heels of the scandal around the World Vision charity’s senior official Mohammad El Halabi who diverted millions of dollars to Hamas, shows the callused way in which Hamas is using international aid for its murderous aims.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry released a statement saying, “Israel updated the UN secretary-general’s office and the heads of the UNDP in New York on the arrest and the charges [against Borsh]. We expect the UN, and particularly the UN’s aid organizations, to unequivocally condemn Hamas for the exploitation of the aid mechanisms, and to take concrete action to ensure humanitarian aid reaches those who need it and not the heads of Hamas.”


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-arrests-second-gaza-aid-official-moonlighting-for-hamas/2016/08/09/

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