Last month, when Israel bombed the besieged Gaza Strip for the fourth time in 12 years, the United States confirmed it had sold $ 735 million worth of weapons to Israel. The approval was criticized by several congressional lawmakers, including Democrats presented resolutions block the sale of Boeing precision-guided missiles.
An 11-day Israeli military campaign in Gaza has killed at least 253 people, including 66 children. At least 12 people have been killed by rockets fired by Palestinian militants in Gaza, Israel. In: The UN Human Rights Council has set up a panel Amnesty International’s human rights group resumes operations to investigate possible war crimes call: For stopping US arms sales to Israel.
Gaza has been described as the world’s largest open-air prison. Since 2006, Israel has imposed a land, sea and air blockade on its 2.1 million inhabitants. Israeli forces continue to occupy East Jerusalem, the West Bank, where they have built hundreds of illegal settlements.
Maintaining Israel’s military hegemony is a key element of US Middle East policy. This was achieved through US funding cooperation and the growth of Israel’s domestic arms industry.
Here is what you need to know about Israel’s military and weapons industry.
How much money does Israel spend on its army?
Israel operates through a huge military apparatus, where military service is compulsory for citizens over 18 years of age. The country spent $ 22 billion on its military in 2020, according to a database compiled by the Arms-Based Research Institute SIPRI. Israel spent about $ 2,508 per capita and spent 12 percent of its public spending on defense.
Imagined, the combination of these figures shows how much Israel’s arms spending is compared to the world’s largest armed forces, including the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
Israel is a major supplier of advanced weapons, including drones, missiles, radar technology and other weapons systems. According to the SIPRI database, it was the 12th largest arms supplier in 2020, selling more than $ 345 million worth of weapons to 16 countries.
How much does the US spend on the Israeli military?
The United States is one of the largest suppliers of military aid to Israel, providing the country with a total of $ 3.8 billion in 2020, a record $ 38 billion in 10 years under former President Barack Obama in 2016. In the past, Israel has also received significant US economic assistance from the military. When Israel became rich, economic aid, which began in 1951, was discontinued, and in 2007 it was almost eliminated.
The United States has set conditions for how aid can be used, particularly military aid. Leahy law, for example, prohibits the export of US defense articles to military units complicit in human rights abuses. However, no Israeli unit was punished under the law. Similarly, US economic assistance to Israeli institutions, such as universities, has historically been required to be used by Israel in 1967. Within. This condition was abolished during the Trump administration.
For comparison, the United States provided $ 20 million in aid to the Palestinians in 2020, according to the United States IDF, after the Trump administration cut off most of its funding for the Palestinian Authority because its government promoted so-called the “peace plan”, which the Palestinians condemned as one-sided.
Since the founding of the USSR in 1994, the United States has provided $ 5 billion total aid“Unlike aid to Israel, Palestinian aid has many conditions. For example: Taylor Force Act“Economic aid can be cut off if the Palestinian Authority makes any” payment that promotes terrorism. ” The Biden administration has announced that it will resume aid to the Palestinians, although the total amount will remain part of what is provided to Israel.
Washington, according to its domestic legislation, such as the 2014 US-Israel Strategic Partnership The act must also protect Israel’s so-called “qualitative military edge”, which means that Israel must maintain its military superiority over its regional neighbors. The law guarantees Israel access to advanced US weapons. US officials also regularly discuss regional defense sales with Israel to make sure their ally is not at a military disadvantage.
US support for Israel began in 1948, when the latter declared independence, և the United States was one of the first countries to recognize Israel. Shortly afterwards, the United States began to provide economic assistance, and to a much lesser extent, military assistance to the new state.
However, military aid Israel has grown significantly since the 1967 Six-Day War When Israel defeated the neighboring Arab armies, it began to occupy the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza. The diversion of military funding since 1967 means that it represents almost 80 percent For all US assistance.
Israel has long been seen by US lawmakers as an ally to help protect US strategic interests in the Middle East. Initially, this included curbing Soviet influence in the region. According to the Congressional Research Service, factors of ongoing military assistance Israel includes common strategic interests, “US internal support for Israel”, “mutual commitment to democratic values”.
For Israel, US funding has usually been a bipartisan affair provided by both Democratic and Republican administrations. US assistance to the Israeli military over the past two decades it has increased despite Israeli military campaigns in Gaza in 2008/2009, 2012 և 2014, which killed more than 3,500 Palestinians. About 100 Israelis have been killed in three wars.
As for the 2003 increase in US military aid, Stephen Unes, a political professor at the University of San Francisco, said that increase was “part of the Middle East’s arms shipment and the overall increase in US military spending.” 2001 Al Qaeda attacks on the United States, the US-led war in Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq.
“US assistance to Israel has always been primarily about how Israel can help advance US perceived strategic goals rather than Israel’s security needs,” he told Al-Azira.
As for the increase of US military aid in 2000, ounces noted that the United States in 1998. The Wai River Memorandum agreed to increase aid to Israel [relatively minor] “Israeli concessions in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.”
“Since the budgets were presented last year, this was the budget of the first convocation, which followed that sitting, էր was probably the result of that,” he said.
Israel is the largest recipient of US General Military External Financing (FMF). A program that provides grants and loans to US allies. purchase “US Defense Equipment, Services, Training.” Over the past two decades, 55 percent of the US FMF has been dedicated to Israel, more than the rest of the world combined. According to the Washington-based think tank Security Assistance Monitor, part of the Center for International Policy.
These figures do not reflect other indirect forms of military aid. In Israel, for example, the US military maintains an “emergency” stockpile of weapons. Currently rated: $ 3.4 billion, the Israeli military can use this vault in emergencies.
South Korea has a similar agreement. Initially, the arrangements were designed to facilitate the rapid deployment of US troops. In practice, for Israel, they serve as an additional layer of defense, allowing the Israeli army to quickly reach ammunition during the conflict. Unlike other FMF recipients, Israel is allowed to use FMF funds to buy from local companies until 2028, according to the latest US-Israel defense memorandum.
Israeli military imports and exports
Historically, Israel’s arms imports have exceeded its exports. However, over the past decade, exports have begun to decline in imports, according to the SIPRI database.
According to Neve Gordon, a professor at Queen Mary University in London, Israel has used Palestine, Lebanon and Syria as “a showcase for goods processed by the Israeli military-industrial complex.”
“This is very important for the export industry, because the manufacturers of weapons control systems can claim that they were used in real combat situations, their effectiveness has been tested,” said Al Jazeera.
Israel imports weapons exclusively from Western countries, with 83% of its imports coming from the United States between 1950 and 2020. In contrast, 23 percent of exports went to India, which was exported far away. Israel has controversially continued to export to South Africa’s apartheid government.
The two countries signed a secret protection agreement In 1975, to circumvent the global trade embargo against South Africa because of its apartheid policies.
In 2015-2020, according to the SIPRI database, the main markets for Israeli arms exports were India (43%), Azerbaijan (16%), Vietnam (10%) and the United States (4%). India was the largest buyer of Israeli weapons in 2020.
Relations between the two countries have flourished since the coming to power of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014. Since then, an Indian diplomat has been recorded advocating the use of the “Israeli model” in Indian-ruled Kashmir, meaning that Israeli settlements occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem.
Human rights groups have accused the Indian military of abuses in Kashmir, including intimidation, torture, extrajudicial killings and arbitrary arrests of Kashmiris. In 2019, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called for a formal investigation into these allegations.
“Not a single dollar.” Demand for arms embargo
Palestinians and pro-Palestinian activists have long call For the international arms embargo on Israel, claiming that military cooperation with foreign governments and companies helps Israel maintain its occupation of the Palestinian territories.
According to the Palestinian-led Boycott, Separation, Sanctions (BDS) movement, which calls for a non-violent, popular movement to pressure Israel to end the occupation, ensure equal rights for Palestinians, and the right of return, Israel is using military force to “maintain the occupation.” The illegal regime of colonialism and apartheid. “
Human rights groups such as Amnesty International have called on President Biden to reconsider his recent arms embargo on Israel, in a situation where “human rights and international humanitarian law are being violated on a daily basis.”
Several progressive US lawmakers have also called on the Biden administration to agree on US aid to Israel. US Congresswoman Betty McCollum introduced a bill banning US use of US aid to detain Palestinian children, destroy Palestinian property, and seize occupied Palestinian lands.
“No US taxpayer dollars should be used to violate the human rights of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation,” he told Al aze Azira earlier this month.