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Israel's Ehud Barak Blasts Bibi Again!

Israeli and American flags


This time it was over the record US military aid package to Israel. No less than $38 billion dollars will go to the Jewish state over a ten year period starting in 2018. Even if every penny will go back into the American economy for the purchase of American weapons, why did former Prime Minister Ehud Barak again smack Bibi in the kisser for bungling the matter? Recently Barak hauled Netanyahu over the coals for jeopardizing Israel's national security but he refused to elaborate and left the country guessing. Now after the disclosure of the details, Barak has weighed in. Writing first in the Washington Post, Barak accused Bibi of playing fast and loose by continuing to oppose US President Barack Obama even after it should have been clear the US and Iran had closed the nuclear deal. Bibi should have backed off, even if it was a ' very bad deal' and tried to salvage what he could with the US leader. But on the contrary - Bibi tried to go over Obama's head and accepted a Republican invitation to address the US Congress on this very contentious issue. Barak contends it was an act of folly that only antagonized Obama. This was a crucial period when the US leader would have been ready to listen favorably to some of Israel's legitimate concerns. After all is said and done Obama had agreed to leave almost all of Iran's nuclear weapons facilities in place which could mean a possible breakout in the future.

If Bibi had chosen to change course and get on Obama's good side it might have been possible to persuade the American leader to insist on a tougher inspections regime and to reach agreement on what would constitute a flagrant violation of the accord. And if so, what the American response would be. But these critical issues have been left open. (For example, the accord does not refer to Iran's continued development of ballistic missiles, with "Destroy Israel" painted on them, which are designed for delivering nuclear warheads - DE).

But instead of trying to cut his losses, Bibi threw a 'Hail Mary pass' by going to the US Congress when it was already game over. This in Barak's view was not the way to make friends and influence people like the President of the US.

And so the proof is in the proverbial pudding. There are several other aspects of the aid package that could have been improved. Perhaps the most glaring is the American decision to phase out the clause that has enabled Israel to spend 25% of the aid for purchasing weapons built by the Israeli arms industry. This will have a wide-ranging impact. Faced with more military threats than any other country, Israel has had to finance perhaps the biggest proportional defense budget in the Free World. While only the size of New Jersey and with a Jewish population less than New York city, (most ultra-orthodox Jews and Arabs do not serve in the IDF), Israel has to maintain top-flight weapons systems including a huge and very costly Air Force. In addition, Israel produces its own tanks, armored personnel carriers and missile defenses that are non-existent anywhere else. Case in point, Israel has just completed a secret defensive high-tech against Hamas and Hezbollah terror tunnels. All this of course, costs billions. So to develop and produce weapons systems tailored to its needs, Israel sells its home-made weapons abroad. This helps to finance the never ending cycle of always staying a step ahead of potential enemies. Cutting 25% of the US military aid that Israel spends on its own industries will adversely affect this process.


Israel saves lives of US troops...

Though hard to believe bear this in mind - US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter inferred that Israel actually contributes more than America's West European allies:

      'It's a two-way relationship... there's no question it's not symmetric but it's two-way. We really do get things from the Israelis in technology. I hate to make invidious comparisons, but if you're making comparisons to, say, the European arms industry, the guys who have made the tanks, planes and ships in Europe, they' been very slow to come out of the industrial age. The Israelis you will find to be more clever and more innovative'.

Arrow an anti-ballistic missile (which is jointly funded and produced by Israel and the United States) launch.

Interviewed by Atlantic magazine, Carter gave one example of how Israeli high-tech has saved the lives of American soldiers on the battle-field, particularly against lethal IEDS - improvised explosive devices:

      'The Israelis were usually quite ingenious in this area, and we get a lot from them. There's No Question That American Lives Were Saved As A Consequence Of Their Help. They're not good in everything across the board, but they're as good as us in some areas. They're in a league that has very few members'.

There are numerous other Israeli contributions to America. Take for example the high-tech command helmets that are now used by American fighter pilots. On a strategic level, the Mossad and IDF have also provided some mind-boggling coups that not only strengthened the US but also Western Europe.

1966: At the height of the Cold war the Mig 21 fighter was the most advanced Soviet military aircraft and posed a major threat to the US and NATO air forces. No one in the West had a clue about the Mig-21's capabilities. Lo and behold! The Mossad planned and implemented the arrival of an Iraqi Mig-21, flown by an Iraqi defector to Israel. There its secrets were analyzed by the Israel Air Force and passed on to the US Air Force and NATO. American pilots, like their Israeli counter-parts were probably even allowed to fly the Mig- 21! What kind of contribution was this to America's national security?

Another incredible example that is common knowledge happened during the First Lebanon War that was triggered by Palestinian cross border attacks instigated by Yasser Arafat. When the most advanced Soviet SAM missile batteries, deployed in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley and manned by the Syrian army, opened fire on Israeli jets, Israel launched Operation Diamond. Within a period of several hours, the Israeli jets destroyed 18 of 19 SAM batteries without losing a single aircraft. At the time, the Israeli success sent shock waves not only through the Kremlin but also the entire Warsaw Pact that was defended by those very same SAM anti- aircraft missiles. How can this contribution to American and West European defense be evaluated? Obviously after devising tactics to crack the SAM anti-aircraft missiles, Israel passed on the information to Washington.


230,000 rockets & missiles target Israel...

Today it's not only the Iranian nuclear threat that looms over Israel's horizon. The IDF's Home Front Command has estimated there are now some 230,000 rockets and missiles aimed at the Jewish state. In the event, of a massive attack, an estimated 1,500 would be launched at Israeli population centers every day. Dozens of these projectiles are known to be targeted on Tel Aviv, Israel's biggest city. Due to Iron Dome's high interception rate, about 1% of the missiles would score direct hits causing 500 deaths.

At present, the greatest threat probably comes again from Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. The IDF estimated that Hezbollah has now amassed over 100,000 rockets and missiles smuggled in under the noses of the UN peace monitoring forces. Moreover Hezbollah has hidden these weapons in and under Shiite villages. The IDF apparently knows where they are squirrelled away. In the event that Iran orders Hezbollah to launch a massive missile attack, the IDF can be expected to hit back with great force in order to stem the massive rocketing of Israeli civilians. But for the present, both Hezbollah and its masters in Tehran are up to their ears fighting in Syria for President Bashar Assad. Meanwhile the Home Front Command is about to launch a massive civil defense drill just in case. The goal is to reduce the time it takes for civilians in major cities to reach a bomb shelter from 90 seconds to sixty. However for Israeli adults and children living in the town of Sderot along the Gaza border they have all of fifteen seconds to reach safety!


David Essing

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