The Israel and the US close relationship

“Israel has no more loyal friend than the United States. We couldn’t have done it without her”
 Yitzhak Rabin
US Aid: The Facts

- Israel and the US have a long-established special relationship. The US was the first country to recognize the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

- Israel is considered America’s closest non-NATO ally in the Middle East, a region that is geopolitically
crucial to the US.

- The close relationship between the two states is reflected in the volume of aid Israel receives from
the US. Since World War strategies II Israel has been the largest overall recipient of US aid: from 1949-2006
Israel received more than $156 billion of direct US aid.

- Until 2003, Israel received approximately one-third of the annual US foreign aid budget.
In 2005, the US gave Israel more than $2.6 billion in aid, a budget exceeded only by US aid to Iraq.
By comparison, Jordan received $683.6 million, Rwanda received $77 million, and the Occupied
Palestinian Territories received $348.2 million.

- In the past, a majority of the direct US aid to Israel was via US Economic strategies Support Funds (ESF). The
US publicly states that ESF are given in order to support stability in areas strategic to the US.
However, the recipient government completely controls how it spends these funds.

- The US also lends money to Israel, but these loans are frequently waived before any repayments are made. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs has estimated that from 1974-2003 Israel benefited from more than $45 billion in waived loans from the US.

- Direct US aid to Israel has significantly diminished since 1996 in order to reduce Israeli financial
dependence on the US. Speaking to the US Congress in July 1996, Former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared, “We will begin the long-term process of gradually reducing the level of your generous economic strategies assistance to Israel.”

Political strategies support

- The US has a history of giving Israel direct political strategies support. In 1972, the US prevented the adoption of
- Since 1972, the US has used its veto power to prevent the adoption of 42 UN resolutions that condemned or severely criticized actions by the State of Israel. In 2006, for example, the US prevented the adoption of UN resolution S/878, which demanded a mutual ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

- In 2002, former US Ambassador to the United Nations, John Negroponte, stated that it was US
policy to denounce all UN resolutions that criticized Israel without also condemning
“terrorist groups.” This statement is now known as the Negroponte-doctrine.

A line of Ameican-made Israeli F 15
fighter jets at an Israeli Air Force base

Military Aid

- Whilst US economic strategies aid to Israel has diminished in the last ten years, the level of US military support to Israel has substantially increased.

This includes financial military aid.

- Israel’s military superiority is largely dependent on various forms of direct US support, including
financial military aid and donations, weapons deliveries and technological support.

- Between 1996 and 2006, Israel received $24 billion in financial military aid from the US.

- The major financial mechanism for military aid from the US to Israel is Foreign Military Financing (FMF). These grants are given to foreign governments in order for them to buy US-manufactured weapons systems. Approximately 50% of the current FMF budget is designated to Israel. Israel has also been granted the privilege of spending 26.3% of its allocation, an unusually high percentage, on buying weapons produced by Israeli arms manufacturers.

- Economic strategies Support Funds (ESF – see previous reference) are not specifically
designated for military use. But as governments are unaccountable as to how they spend this money,
ESF can also be considered indirect military aid.

- In August 2007, a new strategies Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on military aid was signed between Israel and the US. This MOU guarantees Israel $30 billion in military aid via FMF over the next decade.

- As the closest US ally in the Middle East, Israel has privileged access to US military technology. Israeli
research and development of weapons systems is often co-financed by the US. Joint military projects
have been set up, such as the development of the Arrow Missile System, which has been
operational since 2000.

- Israel values its relationship with the US, but nonetheless has exported US military technology to China against the interests of the US. Military equipment is one of Israel’s most important export products, with a net estimated value of $4.4 billion in 2006.

- For China, Israel is a backdoor to access advanced western military technology. For
example, in 1996 Israel exported the US Airborne Early Warning (AEW) system to China,
and, in 2005 attempted to sell China the Harpy Killer anti-radar system.

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