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Military aid facts

Military aid facts.

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How much military aid does the U.S. give to Israel?

According to the Congressional Research Service, Israel received $61.3 billion in military aid from 1949-2010 [1]

On August 16, 2007, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by Israel and the United States promised $30 billion in military aid to Israel during the following decade (2009-2018). [2] This $30 billion of military aid represented a more than 25% increase over pre-existing military financing to Israel. [3]

What additional military aid appropriations have been made in the past twelve months (FY 2010)?

  • $205 million as the U.S. contribution to Iron Dome: short-range rocket defense. Originally this project was to be entirely Israeli funded. [4]
  • · $202 million: for Arrow, Arrow II, Arrow III: an anti-missile system co-managed and co-funded for Israeli use; [5] AN/TPY-2 X-Band Radar: an U.S. Satellite Early Warning System U S. staffed and funded, mutual use, [6] David’s Sling (Magic Wand): very short-range rocket defense. [7]

How does U.S. military aid to Israel rank in relation to military aid to other countries?

In early 2010, the Department of State reported Israel receiving more military aid than the rest of the world combined. [8]

In what form is this aid given?

1)  Money. Of the $30 billion promised by the U.S. to Israel in foreign military financing (FMF) from 2009-2018, about 25% of that funding can be used by Israel for purchases made directly from its own domestic defense industry. ($670.65 million in FY2009). Israel is the only country allowed to use FMF monies on its own domestic defense industry. [9]

2) Weapons. The other 75% of FMF funds is used to purchase U. S. defense equipment. This equipment consists of weapons purchased from the U.S. government, and of weapons produced by private U.S. manufacturers and sold by those manufacturers directly to Israel, with the approval of the U.S. government. [10]

What is Israel’s accountability for its use of U.S. military aid?

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt argue in their book, The Israeli Lobby and U. S. Foreign Policy that because “Israel is the only recipient of U. S. economic aid that does not have to account for how it is spent … this exemption makes it virtually impossible for the United States to prevent its subsidies from being used for purposes it opposes .[11]

The authors quote Clyde Mark in his Congressional Research Service study, “Israel: U. S. Foreign Assistance”: “Because U. S. economic aid is given to Israel as direct government-to-government budgetary authority without any specific project accounting, and money is fungible, there is no way to tell how Israel uses U.S. aid.” [12]

What is the process by which military aid is approved?

FMF grant assistance to Israel for FY2009-2018 is grounded in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by R. Nicholas Burns, U.S. Undersecretary of State, and Aaron Abramovich, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, dated August, 2007.

Each annual FMF grant must be approved by Congress. For example, “for FY2009 the Administration requested $2.55 billion in FMF and $30 million in Migration Assistance for Israel. P.L. 111-8, March 11, 2009, the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009, provides $2.38 billion in FMF, of which $670,650,000 may be spent in Israel, and $30 million in migration and refugee assistance for Israel.” [13]

Since the funds have to be appropriated yearly, this provides an opportunity for U.S. citizens and taxpayers to mobilize to oppose this disastrous policy.

How does U.S. military aid to Israel fuel the global arms market?

The facts speak for themselves. Here are a few:

  • “Israel is among the world’s leading arms exporters. Between 2001 and 2008, Israel was the seventh largest arms exporter to the world with sales (value of agreements not deliveries) worth a total of $9.9 billion” [14]
  • US military aid to Israel also destabilizes the political climate in other troubled areas of the world. In 2001, Israel made $2 billion in arms sales to India, including Israeli missile systems that were developed with US tax dollars. Tensions are as high as ever between Pakistan and India. Contributing to an arms race between the two nations will only bring South Asia closer to war. [15]

What other commitments has the U.S. made for ongoing military aid?

In addition to the Memorandum of Understanding, the U.S. taxpayer has been committed to a unique and potentially unlimited source of continuing military aid.

  • The U.S. further aids Israel by guaranteeing its Qualitative Military Edge (QME). This means that any other aid to the Middle East is conditioned upon whether it affects Israel’s military superiority over its neighbors.” [16]
  • The Naval Vessel Transfer Act, signed into law by George Bush on October 15, 2008, states: “[T]he term ‘qualitative military edge’ means the ability to counter and defeat any credible conventional military threat from any individual state or possible coalition of states or from non-state actors, while sustaining minimal damages and casualties, through the use of superior military means, possessed in sufficient quantity, including weapons, command, control, communication, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities that in their technical characteristics are superior in capability to those of such other individual or possible coalition of states or non-state actors [17].

[1] Sharp, Jeremy. U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel. CRS Report RL33222, September 16, 2010, p. 24

[2] Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Signing of Memorandum of Understanding between Israel and the United States. August 16, 2007

[3] Ruebner, Josh. Mock Congressional Hearing Report, 2010, p.19

[4] Ruebner, Josh,  p. 5

[5] Sharp, Jeremy. pp. 8-9

[6] Sharp, Jeremy.  pp. 9-10

[7] Sharp, Jeremy. p. 8

[8] Department of State, Military Financing Account Summary, accessed 3/22/2010

[9] Sharp, pp. 2-4

[10] Sharp, p. 4

[11] Migdalovitz, Carol. Israel: Background and Relations with the United States. April 2, 2009. Congressional Research Service RL33476: p. 29, 2007, p. 28.

[12] Mark, Clyde R., “Israel: U.S. Foreign Assistance,” Congressional Research Service Publications, p. 7

[13] Migdalovitz, Carol. Israel: Background and Relations with the United States. April 2, 2009. Congressional Research Service RL33476: p. 30

[14] Sharp, Jeremy. U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel. CRS Report RL33222, 12/2009, p. 4

[15]Ten Reasons to Oppose US Aid to Israel,” Global Exchange. Web.

[16] Sharp, pp. 1-2

[17] Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2008, Wikisource. Web