[Boycott - Arms]
US mulls upping military aid to Israel
Ran Dagoni, Globes Online (Israel business news)
17 April 2007
The US administration seeks to soften Israeli objections to arms deals with Arab countries.
The last thing that President Bush needs now is another source of friction with Democratic-controlled Congress. US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will therefore come to Jerusalem offering a large carrot with no stick, in the form of increased military aid.
The US is considering whether to increase military aid to Israel as compensation for a US arms deal with Saudi Arabia, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told correspondents in Jordan yesterday. Jordan was the first stop of a Middle East tour.
Gates is due in Israel tomorrow for meetings with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni, and Minister of Defense Amir Peretz. This will be his first visit to Israel in seven years. Gates’s predecessor, Donald Rumsfield, made seven visits to the Middle East during his term, but never visited Israel. President Bill Clinton’s Defense Secretary, William Cohen, visited Israel in November 2000.
The media reported two weeks ago that the Bush administration postponed a large sophisticated arms deal with Saudi Arabia and Gulf states because of Israeli objections. The administration temporarily agreed with Israel’s position that the deal was liable to erode its qualitative superiority, but in feverish behind-the-scenes activity in Washington, officials sought to soften the Israeli stance.
Sources in Washington inform ''Globes'' that the Bush administration has ruled out confronting Congress over this issue. Congress must approve the Arab arms deal, and is expected to support Israel’s position. The last thing that President George W. Bush needs now is another source of friction with Democratic-controlled Congress. Gates will therefore come to Jerusalem offering a large carrot with no stick, in the form of increased military aid in exchange for softening its position on the sale of arms to Riyadh.
US reassures Israel on arms sale
Andrew Gray, Reuters
Friendly Gulf states are a bulwark against Iran
US Defence Secretary
JERUSALEM — US Defence Secretary Robert Gates sought yesterday to allay Israeli concerns about Washington’s possible sale of advanced weaponry to Saudi Arabia, arguing that friendly Gulf states are a bulwark against Iran.
Israeli officials have raised objection to the planned transfer by the Bush administration of a major arms package to Riyadh. The New York Times reported that the sale would include precision- guided bombs of the kind already in Israel’s arsenal.
Gates said he had reaffirmed a long-standing US commitment to maintaining Israel’s military superiority.
“I thought they needed to look at the circumstances in terms of the overall strategic environment and in terms of the concerns of their neighbours, more with Iran perhaps, than with Israel,” Gates said after talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
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