Obama approves $1.9b Israel arms package

Israel Air Force F-15
Israel Air Force F-15

The package includes missiles and bombs to replace ammunition used in Operation Protective Edge.

The US Department of Defense announced last night that the Obama administration had approved the sale of $1.9 billion of arms and military equipment requested by Israel. The package must now be approved by Congress, and there is no doubt that it will be fully approved.

The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said that the package included 14,500 JDAM tail kits, missile guidance systems that convert "dumb" unguided bombs into "smart" GPS guided missiles that can be fired in any weather conditions; 50 BLU113 two ton bombs that can penetrate layers of concrete up to 10 meters thick; 4,100 GBU30 small diameter 907 kilogram bombs that can penetrate bunkers; DSU-38A/B detector laser illuminated target kits for JDAM-equipped bombs and Paveway bomb kits, Hellfire missiles, and 250 AIM-120C Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles, and additional ammunition.

A Pentagon statement said, "The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to U.S. national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability. This proposed sale is consistent with those objectives and will not change the power balance in the region."

Much of this ammunition in effect replaces ammunition used during Operation Protective Edge last summer. The Pentagon announcement stresses that much of this ammunition is already in Israel's arsenal and it will therefore be no problem for the IDF to make them operable.

As "Globes" reported on May 11, Israeli decision makers have been discussing whether Israel should change its stance towards a potential nuclear agreement with Iran in order to significantly increase US aid to Israel. The discussion revolves around two assumptions: Firstly, Congress will ultimately be unable to prevent the signing of the agreement, despite Israel's efforts. Israeli sources agree with the Obama administration's assessment that the Republicans in the Senate won't find a majority to veto any agreement. Secondly, there is no point in Israel campaigning angrily against the agreement right up to the end - just before it is signed on June 30.

"The horse has already bolted from the stable," one source close to the subject said. Benjamin Netanyahu's speech in Congress in March did not achieve its goal and has left a major vacuum in US-Israel relations. Continuing this tactic will only deepen the rift between Washington and Jerusalem.

Instead Israel has copied the strategy of the Gulf states that seek to upgrade military relations and procure large amounts of arms and military equipment. Jerusalem believes that it can request a massive increase in annual military assistance on the grounds that it must adjust to life in the shadow of the Ayatollahs who may at some point decide to violate the agreement and break through to the final stages of making nuclear weapons. In other words, Israel's request to the US is that it must prepare for life with a nuclear Iran.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 21, 2015

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2015 .

Israel Air Force F-15
Israel Air Force F-15
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