- Feb 10, 2010
WASHINGTON - Israel's government has kept its silence during a year-long ban on weapons sales imposed by the United States at the same time the administration has approved $10 billion in weapons sales to Arab states, a report said.
The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs reported that the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sought to conceal a virtual arms embargo by the administration of President Barack Obama. The institute said the Israeli government was also refusing to protest massive U.S. weapons projects for Arab rivals in the Middle East, which has eroded Israel's military superiority over its neighbors.
"Israel, in very important ways, isn't protesting where it might," JINSA said.
Over the last year, the United States refused to approve any major Israeli weapons requests. Government sources asserted that the refusal represented a White House policy to link most arms sales to Israel to progress in the U.S. plan to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank.
At the same time, Obama has approved more than $10 billion worth of arms sales to Arab League states, including Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. JINSA said Israel, which receives more than $2.4 billion in annual American military aid, refrained from objecting to U.S. plans to sell F-16s, Harpoon Block 2 anti-ship missiles, Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, fast attack craft and helicopters to Egypt.
In a Jan. 27 report, the institute, regarded as close to the Defense Department and U.S. military, said the White House has blocked key weapons projects and upgrades for Israel. JINSA said Obama rejected Israel's request for AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters while approving advanced F-16 multi-role fighters for Egypt.
"Indeed, Israel's request for six AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters was blocked by the Obama Administration in June - the same time the Egyptian sale was approved," the report said.
The administration's policy, the report said, has violated a pledge given more than 40 years ago to maintain Israel's military superiority over its Arab neighbors. JINSA said the erosion of Israel's qualitative edge began under the previous administration of President George Bush.
"How does Israel compete when the Obama administration announces 24 more F-16s for Egypt and 24 additional F-16s for Morocco," the report said. "The concept of the Qualitative Military Edge failed to keep up with the changes in U.S. arms sales and training policy over the decades."
JINSA dismissed Israeli government claims that the White House was ready to address the erosion of Israel's military superiority. The institute said the January 2010 visit by U.S. National Security Advisor James Jones did not concern Israel's qualitative military edge.
"Actually, it was to push Israel into more pointless talks with Palestinians, who declined to cooperate," the institute said.
The U.S. aid to Arab states, the report said, has hampered Israeli military cooperation with Washington. More than 20 years ago, the Israel Air Force stopped participating in U.S.-sponsored regional exercises to prevent the leakage of combat tactics.
"It's one thing for our lover to take pictures in the bedroom," the report quoted an Israeli combat pilot as saying. "It is another for them to sell the pictures on the street."
JINSA said Israel has lost its advantage over the Arabs regarding the quantity and quality of weapons. The institute said the Arabs also appear to have caught up to Israel in the area of tactics and training. The sole advantage was said to concern the quality of Israeli soldiers and officers.
"Changing Israel's local security paradigm at the same time as increased sales to the neighbors -- and no new sales to Israel - means the balance is pushed further out of whack," the report said.
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