The announcement last week by the United
States of the largest military aid
package in its history – to Israel – was
a win for both sides.
minister Benjamin Netanyahu could boast
that his lobbying had boosted aid from
$3.1 billion a year to $3.8bn – a 22 per
cent increase – for a decade starting in
Mr Netanyahu has presented this as a
rebuff to those who accuse him of
jeopardising Israeli security interests
with his government’s repeated affronts
to the White House.
In the past weeks alone, defence
minister Avigdor Lieberman has compared
last year’s nuclear deal between
Washington and Iran with the 1938 Munich
pact, which bolstered Hitler; and Mr
Netanyahu has implied that US opposition
to settlement expansion is the same as
support for the “ethnic cleansing” of
American president Barack Obama,
meanwhile, hopes to stifle his own
critics who insinuate that he is
anti-Israel. The deal should serve as a
fillip too for Hillary Clinton, the
Democratic party’s candidate to succeed
Mr Obama in November’s election.
In reality, however, the Obama
administration has quietly punished Mr
Netanyahu for his misbehaviour. Israeli
expectations of a $4.5bn-a-year deal
were whittled down after Mr Netanyahu
stalled negotiations last year as he
sought to recruit Congress to his battle
against the Iran deal.
In fact, Israel already receives
roughly $3.8bn – if Congress’s
assistance on developing missile defence
programmes is factored in. Notably,
Israel has been forced to promise not to
approach Congress for extra funds.
The deal takes into account neither
inflation nor the dollar’s depreciation
against the shekel.
A bigger blow still is the White
House’s demand to phase out a special
exemption that allowed Israel to spend
nearly 40 per cent of aid locally on
weapon and fuel purchases. Israel will
soon have to buy all its armaments from
the US, ending what amounted to a
subsidy to its own arms industry.
Nonetheless, Washington’s renewed
military largesse – in the face of
almost continual insults – inevitably
fuels claims that the Israeli tail is
wagging the US dog. Even The New York
Times has described the aid package as
Since the 1973 war, Israel has
received at least $100bn in military
aid, with more assistance hidden from
view. Back in the 1970s, Washington paid
half of Israel’s military budget. Today
it still foots a fifth of the bill,
despite Israel’s economic success.
But the US expects a return on its
massive investment. As the late Israeli
politician-general Ariel Sharon once
observed, Israel has been a US
“aircraft carrier” in the Middle East,
acting as the regional bully and
carrying out operations that benefit
Almost no one blames the US for
Israeli attacks that wiped out Iraq’s
and Syria’s nuclear programmes. A
nuclear-armed Iraq or Syria would have
deterred later US-backed moves at regime
overthrow, as well as countering the
strategic advantage Israel derives from
its own nuclear arsenal.
In addition, Israel’s US-sponsored
military prowess is a triple boon to the
US weapons industry, the country’s most
powerful lobby. Public funds are
siphoned off to let Israel buy goodies
from American arms makers. That, in
turn, serves as a shop window for other
customers and spurs an endless and
lucrative game of catch-up in the rest
of the Middle East.
The first F-35 fighter jets to arrive
in Israel in December – their various
components produced in 46 US states –
will increase the clamour for the
Israel is also a “front-line
laboratory”, as former Israeli army
negotiator Eival Gilady admitted at the
weekend, that develops and field-tests
new technology Washington can later use
The US is planning to buy back the
missile interception system Iron Dome –
which neutralises battlefield threats of
retaliation – it largely paid for.
Israel works closely too with the US in
developing cyberwarfare, such as the
Stuxnet worm that damaged Iran’s
civilian nuclear programme.
But the clearest message from
Israel’s new aid package is one
delivered to the Palestinians:
Washington sees no pressing strategic
interest in ending the occupation. It
stood up to Mr Netanyahu over the Iran
deal but will not risk a damaging clash
over Palestinian statehood.
Some believe that Mr Obama signed the
aid package to win the credibility
necessary to overcome his domestic
Israel lobby and pull a rabbit from the
hat: an initiative, unveiled shortly
before he leaves office, that corners Mr
Netanyahu into making peace.
Hopes have been raised by an expected
meeting at the United Nations in New
York on Wednesday. But their first talks
in 10 months are planned only to
demonstrate unity to confound critics of
the aid deal.
If Mr Obama really wanted to pressure
Mr Netanyahu, he would have used the aid
agreement as leverage. Now Mr Netanyahu
need not fear US financial retaliation,
even as he intensifies effective
annexation of the West Bank.
Mr Netanyahu has drawn the right
lesson from the aid deal – he can act
against the Palestinians with continuing
- See more at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net/2016-09-19/palestinians-lose-in-us-military-aid-deal-with-israel/#sthash.fL4Eq28N.dpuf
Hillary Could Drag Us All Into A
By Peter Hitchens
September 29, 2016 "Information
- Here in my favourite American small town,
I detect a strange, ominous feeling of
approaching danger. Something has gone wrong
with the USA.
first came to Moscow, Idaho, eight years ago
when the great Obama frenzy was at its
unhinged peak. This is a divided place,
traditional rural conservatives living
alongside a Left-wing university campus, but
in 2008 they coped with their deep divisions
in the usual way.
People disagreed, but they did it politely
and openly, and were ready to accept the
result even if they did not like it. Almost
every front lawn had its partisan placard.
Now politics has gone underground in an
almost sinister way. I searched the town’s
pleasant suburbs for a Trump or Clinton
poster and found none, only a single defiant
declaration of support for America’s Jeremy
Corbyn, the Left-winger Bernie Sanders, who
long ago quit the race.
Republican headquarters in Main Street until
recently contained posters supporting lots
of the party’s candidates for local office,
but none at all for Donald Trump. Last week
they finally managed to mention his name,
but you have to look carefully for it in
Democrat HQ, almost directly opposite, is
nearly as coy about Hillary Clinton.
In private conversations (the only sort
where people will say what they really
think), you find out what this means.
Democrats are holding their noses over
Hillary because they despise her and wish
she wasn’t their candidate.
many Republicans are stifling their genuine
enthusiasm for Trump, because – in small
towns like this – they don’t want to annoy
or alienate neighbours who may also be
customers, clients, patients or employers.
course there are conservatives, usually
serious Christians, who loathe and mistrust
Donald Trump and see him for what he is – a
balloon of noise and bluster which will one
day burst in a terrible explosion of
disappointment and regret.
they have been swept aside by the great
carnival of resentment and revenge which has
carried Trump past all the obstacles and
restraints that are supposed to prevent such
people getting near real power. For Trump is
the anti-Obama – emotional, irrational, a
Those who had to sit, grinding their teeth,
through all the long-years of Obama-worship,
now hope for their own matching hour of
we really ought to recognise that rejoicing
over the woes of your enemies is one of the
greatest sinful pleasures in life. Few will
turn down the chance.
can see no good outcome of this. Adversarial
politics are a good thing, but only if both
sides are ultimately willing to concede that
their rivals are entitled to win from time
to time. But that attitude seems to have
gone. Now the rule is that the winner takes
all, and hopes to keep it if he (or she)
narrow defeat for Trump will poison the
republic. Millions of his supporters will
immediately claim fraud at the polls, and
nothing will convince them otherwise. The
bitterness of the Florida ‘hanging chad’
episode of 2000 will seem like brotherly
love compared with that fury.
victory for Trump – decisive or narrow –
will give astonishing powers to a lonely,
inexperienced, ill-educated old man who (I
suspect) is increasingly terrified of
winning a prize he never really intended or
expected to obtain.
clear victory for Hillary Clinton would
create even greater problems. Educated,
informed people here believe that there are
serious doubts about her health. Even if
they are wrong, her militant interventionist
foreign policies are terrifying.
lived through the Cold War and never
believed we were in real danger. But I
genuinely tremble at the thought of Mrs
Clinton in the White House. She appears to
have learned nothing from the failed
interventions of the past 30 years, and
scorns Barack Obama’s praiseworthy motto:
‘Don’t do stupid stuff.’
will do stupid stuff, and drag us into it,
you may rely upon it.
odd it is, to hear on the air the faint but
insistent sound of coming war, here in this
place of sweet, small hills, rich soil and
wistful, mountainous horizons.
came here in search of what we all really
desire, to be left alone to get on with the
really important aims of life, to build a
home and raise a family, to see the fruits
of their labour, to believe what they wish
cannot quite work out how the good, sane
impulse that gave birth to the USA could
possibly have led us to this nightmare
choice between two equally horrible
I shall just have to carry on hoping that I
Syria's 'WMD moment': Don't be duped again
everyone (barring a tiny knot of deluded
losers) knows that Saddam Hussein had no WMD.
Most people now grasp that Colonel Gaddafi
wasn’t planning a massacre in Benghazi or
ordering his troops to engage in mass rapes.
long will it be before we also grasp that
neither Russia nor Syria bombed a UN aid
convoy in Aleppo?
incident, about which almost no
independently testable, checkable facts have
yet been produced, is the WMD of Syria. If
we all fall for it, then we shall very soon
find ourselves embroiled in the most
dangerous international confrontation since
the Cuban missile crisis.
immense pressure from the despots of Saudi
Arabia, the USA will not give up its efforts
to overthrow the Syrian government. It is
clear that it is now prepared to risk an
open confrontation with Moscow to achieve
this. Why? Who do they think they are, and
how can their cause be so good that they
take such risks?
deliberate sabotage of a workable peace deal
in Syria (opposed from the start by the
Pentagon) is one of the scandals of our age.
There was a chance we might end the misery
of millions, and it was thrown away.
Britain must resist being dragged into a
Syrian war, not least because, if we are, it
will not be long before any troops we send
there are being hounded in their own country
for alleged war crimes. We’ve been fooled
enough by this propaganda. Don’t be