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 Friday, July 14, 2006

UPDATE:Israel's Regional War in the Middle East


  1. President Bush supported Israel’s strikes on Lebanon.

    Mr. Bush placed the blame for the tensions squarely on Syria for housing leaders of Hezbollah. Mr. Bush had called the Hezbollah actions “pathetic.” An official familiar with talks between the United States and Israel said the Americans had emphasized to Israel the importance of avoiding any refugee crisis. The official, who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive conversations, said the Americans had also asked Israel to be careful not to destroy governmental organizations or to press Prime Minister Fouad Siniora to enter the situation.Read for more

  2. The conflict between Israel and Hezbollah is imperiling the new government in Lebanon, touted by President George W. Bush as a model for the spread of democracy in the Middle East. Read here for more

  3. The European Union on Thursday criticized Israel for using "disproportionate" force in its attacks on Lebanon following the cross-border raid by Hezbollah guerillas who captured two Israeli soldiers.The EU also called Israel's naval blockade cutting off supply routes to Lebanon unjustified. Read here for more

  4. U.S. Vetoes U.N. Condemnation Of Israel:

    The United States blocked an Arab-backed resolution Thursday that would have demanded Israel halt its military offensive in the Gaza Strip, the first U.N. Security Council veto in nearly two years. The draft, sponsored by Qatar on behalf of other Arab nations, accused Israel of a "disproportionate use of force" that endangered Palestinian civilians, and demanded Israel withdraw its troops from Gaza. The United States was alone in voting against the resolution. Ten of the 15 Security Council nations voted in favor, while Britain, Denmark, Peru and Slovakia abstained. The U.S. has periodically used its veto to block resolutions critical of Israel. The last council veto, in October 2004, was cast when the United States blocked a resolution condemning another Israeli operation in Gaza. Read here for more


  • Israel blockaded Lebanon's coastline, bombarded its international airport for the second time in a day and staged hundreds of air raids in a wide-ranging assault Thursday aimed at forcing the Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah to free two captured Israeli soldiers. Read here for more

  • Israel unleashed a furious military campaign on Lebanon's main airport, highways, military bases and other targets Thursday, retaliating for scores of Hezbollah guerrilla rockets that rained down on Israel and reached as far as Haifa, its third-largest city, for the first time. Read here for more


    The Extent of US Military Aid and Subsidy for Israel's Fire-Power to Bully Neighboring Countries

    Read here "About the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs"

    For full details on the following article, read
    here in WRMEA by Shirl McArthur, a retired U.S. foreign service officer. She is a consultant based in the Washington, DC area.

    The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (WRMEA) conservatively estimates cumulative total direct U.S. aid to Israel at $107.961 billion.

    Because of the uncertainties and ambiguities associated with U.S. aid to Israel, arriving at a precise figure for total direct U.S. aid to Israel probably is not possible.

    Parts of it are buried in the budgets of other government agencies—mostly the Defense Department (DOD)—or in a form not easily quantifiable—such as the early disbursement of aid, allowing Israel a direct gain and the U.S. Treasury a direct loss of interest on the unspent money.

    Among the real benefits to Israel that are not direct costs to the U.S. taxpayer are the cash transfer of economic and military aid, in-country purchases of a portion of military aid, and loan guarantees.

    The U.S. gives Israel all of its economic and military aid directly in cash, with NO accounting required of how the funds are used.

    Furthermore, Israel can spend 26.3 percent of the military aid in Israel, clearly a SUBSIDY to the Israeli defense industry at the expense of American defense contractors.

    Other countries receiving U.S. military aid generally have to spend 100 percent of it in the U.S.

    Also in contrast with other countries receiving military aid, who must purchase through the DOD, Israel deals directly with U.S. companies.

    A further benefit to Israel are U.S. government loan guarantees. While they have not (yet) cost the U.S. any money, they are listed as “contingent liabilities”—that is, should Israel default they would become liabilities to the U.S.

    However, they have unquestionably been of tangible financial benefit to Israel, because they have enabled Israel to get commercial loans at special terms and favorable interest rates.

    The major loan guarantees have been :

  • $600 million for housing between 1972 and 1990;
  • $9.2 billion for Soviet Jewish resettlement between 1992 and 1997;
  • about $5 billion for refinancing military loans commercially; and
  • $9 billion in loan guarantees included in the FY ‘03 supplemental appropriations.


    Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. aid since World War II.

    The $3-plus billion per year that Israel receives from the U.S. taxpayer is about one-fifth of the total U.S. aid budget, and amounts to more than $600 per Israeli.

    Most of this money is transparent, earmarked in Congress’ foreign operations (foreign aid) appropriations bills, with the three major items being military grants (Foreign Military Financing, or FMF), economic grants (Economic Support Funds, or ESF), and “refugee assistance.”

    Not earmarked, but also included in the foreign operations bills, is Israel’s portion of the grants for American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA).

    In addition, and less transparent, is the interest from early disbursement of aid and monies buried in the appropriations for other departments or agencies, primarily the Defense Department (DOD). These are mostly for so-called “U.S.-Israeli cooperative programs” in defense, agriculture, science and hi-tech industries.

    Before 1998, Israel received annually $1.8 billion in military grants and $1.2 billion in economic grants.

    Then, beginning in FY ‘99, at the instigation of then-Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, economic grants to Israel have been reduced by $120 million and military grants increased by $60 million each year.

    For the current fiscal year (FY 2006) the amounts are $2.28 billion in military and $240 million in economic grants, for a total of $2.52 billion.

    US MILITARY AID TO ISRAEL: 6.794 Billion.

    The military aid from the DOD budget is mostly for specific projects. For previous estimates, a search going back several years was able to identify $6.054 billion in specific items from the DOD to Israel through FY ‘04.

    Adding $355 million from the FY ‘05 DOD appropriations and $385 from the FY ‘06 appropriations gives a total of $6.794 billion.

    The largest items have been:
  • the canceled Lavi attack fighter project,
  • the ongoing Arrow anti-missile missile project,
  • the ongoing tactical high energy laser anti-missile system,
  • the ongoing Bradley reactive armor tiles program, and the completed Merkava tank.

    The FY ‘01 appropriations bill also gave Israel a grant of $700 million worth of military equipment, to be drawn down from stocks in Western Europe.

    In addition, since 1998 Israel has been designated a “major non-NATO ally,” enabling it to receive outdated military equipment at either reduced cost or no charge; the FY ‘05 defense appropriations bill includes a provision authorizing the DOD to transfer an unspecified amount of “surplus” military items from inventory to Israel.

    In addition, Israel was recently named a partner in the Joint Strike Fighter project, although it is unclear what the significance of this will be.

    The Grand Total of US Aid to Israel : $107.9613 Billion

    Adding the “unincluded” totals to the total from Table 1 gives a grand total of $107.9613 billion total aid to Israel through FY 2006.
  • For the convenience of those who wish to look up more details, citations for the foreign aid and DOD appropriations bills for the past five years are given in Table 2 above.

    Read here for more

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