The Senate is currently examining a bill which would provide Israel with one of the biggest aid packages ever granted to the Jewish State. The United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, a version of which was recently passed by the House of Representatives, will broaden military cooperation between the two countries and will supply Israel with additional aircraft and munitions. President Barack Obama has in the past been criticized for his weak pro-Israeli stance.
According to sources close to the discussions, Israel will receive refueling aircraft, which it will badly need if it decides to go ahead and launch a pre-emptive military strike against Iran,while the additional munitions is likely to include state-of-the-art bunker-busting missiles. In exchange for the very generous aid package, Israel is expected to open up its air space to the U.S. so that it can conduct aerial exercises.
The new legislation is being examined by the Foreign Relations Committee at a time when world powers negotiators are meeting in Baghdad to attempt to break the deadlock between Iran and the West.
The United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany are trying to convince Tehran that it needs to put a stop to some of its nuclear fuel enrichment, which the Obama administration and other Western leaders believe is a precursor to the building of a dirty bomb. Iran, on the other hand, wishes the U.S. and Europe to lift the economic sanctions on its oil exports in exchange for granting U.N. inspectors a freer rein when visiting the country’s nuclear installations.
“This bill has received the blessing of the Obama administration, which sees it as a conciliatory gesture towards Israel in advance of the agreement with Iran, about which Israel has already begun to express reservations,” the source told the Globes.
Republican presidential candidate and Texas Congressman Ron Paul strongly opposed the bill while it was being examined by the House of Representatives, describing it as “another piece of one-sided and counter-productive foreign policy legislation.”
“This bill will not help the United States. It will not help Israel. And it will not help the Middle East. It will implicitly authorize much more US interventionism in the region at a time when we cannot afford the foreign commitments we already have. It more likely will lead to war against Syria, Iran, or both,” Dr. Paul said at the time.
On Wednesday, Israel’s defense minister Ehud Barak indicated that a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear sites would remain a possibility even if Tehran agreed to grant greater access to United Nations inspectors.