Why and How US Aided Israel to be Military Power in Middle East?

According to Al Jazeera, from 1946-2017, US has given $84.7 billion to Israel as military aid, $34.2 billion as economic aid and $5.7 billion as missile defense aid. In total, US has supported Israel with a whopping $134.7 billion. Any damn country can be a military power with such whopping economic support.

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Why and How US Aided Israel to be Military Power in Middle East
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As US President Donald Trump walks out of the Iran deal and reimposes sanctions that were suspended under the Obama regime, the world questions how the USA for nearly a century has protected Israel from all questionable deeds including crimes against humanity. The Jewish state’s dependence on the US has become so prominent that it is questionable whether the country could even survive today without it. The US has been always sympathetic to Israel more than Palestine. It’s a fact which can be proved that the US always shielded Israel when incidents of war crime came up against Israel. They vetoed the resolutions in United Nations Security Council and saved Israel’s back amidst international condemnation. From 1954, the US has vetoed nearly 50 resolutions against Israel. The same was seen during the recent Gaza border protests where more than 60 innocent Palestinians were gunned down by Israeli forces during the inauguration of US embassy in Jerusalem.

Though Washington’s support for Israel is massive, including billions of dollars in aid and a reliable diplomatic backing, skeptics question the reason. Strong support for Israel among the American public and the existence of the strong influence of the pro-Israel lobby in the United States which pressurize the sitting government and Senate to take decisions favoring Israel can be the major reasons.

Initially, they were not so close. US President Eisenhower was antagonistic to Israel during the 1956 Suez War, which Israel, the UK, and France fought against Egypt. But as the Cold War began, the US came to view Israel as a key buffer against Soviet influence in the Middle East and began funding it. The alliance cemented in 1973 when American forces helped Israel confront a surprise Arab invasion, better known as the Yom Kippur war.

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In recent years, a common interest in fighting jihadism tied America closer to Israel. According to a report in The Newsweek, the total American assistance to Israel, from its establishment in 1949 up to 2016, amounts to approximately $125 billion, making Israel the largest beneficiary of American aid after the completion of Second World War. 1 By the end of the ten-year military-aid package recently agreed for 2019–28, the total figure will be nearly $170bn.

In recent years, US aid has constituted approximately 20% of Israel’s total defense budget or 40% of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) budget and almost the entire procurement budget. An end to this would thus have a devastating impact on Israel. Since 1981, all assistance to Israel has been in the form of grants, not loans, and each annual sum arrives in its entirety at the beginning of the year rather than in installments. Israel is also the only recipient that for decades was allowed to spend part of this assistance for procurement in Israel itself rather than in the United States.

Israel generally has access to the latest American technologies. The “bunker-busting” bombs that had never been supplied to any other country was delivered to Israel. Israel was also the first foreign country to purchase F-35s, the most advanced American fighter till today. Most sophisticated weapons are shared with Israel.

if it wasn’t the US, Israel could have never succeeded in gathering the stockpile of ammunition which it has plus the ability to develop a rocket and missile shield which protects the nation from missile attacks. Economically, the United States is Israel’s single biggest trading partner with bilateral trade in 2016 running at approximately $35.5 billion. The two countries signed a free-trade agreement in 1986, the first such bilateral deal ever concluded by Washington. Also, emergency economic assistance and loan guarantees are routinely provided. So as Israel’s international isolation has grown, its dependence on US diplomatic cover has become almost indispensable.

The leadership across both the countries meet each other regularly, both on US soil and Tel Aviv. The army holds joint patrolling exercises regularly and students participate in exchange programmes. Thus, the bonding is knit very closely. In Silicon Valley, it is said that half the staff is near to Israeli ancestry. Business delegations too for that matter, are visiting both countries, making the linkage strong. So financial, military, strategic, educational, scientific and cultural ties apart from compulsion ink the two countries this close. Intelligence cooperation is the axis of their bilateral cooperation.

Even regarding the Gaza conflict and an ongoing dispute on West Bank, Washington supports the view that a final peace agreement must address Israel’s security concerns and backs Israel’s opposition to a large-scale return of Palestinian refugees and its demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Experts have also suggested that in absence of US support, Israel won’t dare build large-scale settlements in the West Bank.

Considering all the above well-researched factors, it is unlikely that Israel’s dependence on the USA will decrease in future, and America will be an unnecessary stakeholder in Middle-East affairs.