Learn from Obama about U.S. Military Aid to Israel

(Forward) Daniel B. Shapiro - In September 2016, the U.S. and Israel signed a 10-year, $38 billion agreement on U.S. military assistance. One instruction President Obama never gave those of us conducting those negotiations was to try to attach conditions to the assistance over the Palestinian issue. Obama saw benefits to U.S. interests in our closest regional ally being able to deter and defend against a wide range of threats having nothing to do with the Palestinians. Israel has faced threats from Iran, Hizbullah, Syria, ISIS, and other regional adversaries, in addition to those posed by Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza. Nearly all of the assistance the U.S. provides is deployed against those threats. All of those actors also threaten U.S. troops, interests, and other allies, so Israel's capabilities serve our interests, as well as their own. Furthermore, the assistance relationship is part of a broader security partnership in which the U.S. has access to top-notch Israeli intelligence, joint training with the IDF, and breakthrough technologies. Benefits flow in both directions. The vast majority of Foreign Military Financing dollars flow back into the U.S. economy and support thousands of jobs in our defense sector. While generous on the part of American taxpayers, our aid is not altruism. Obama also understood that the Palestinians bear significant responsibility for the political stalemate. He knew Israel could not end the conflict on its own. The writer, a former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, was Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa on the National Security Council during the Obama administration.

2019-11-07 00:00:00

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