Once more the time is upon the Israeli political and military leadership to figure the most beneficial path forward and what role they wish for the presumed eternal friendship and joining at the hip of the United States and Israel. At the top of the discussion is that connection at the hip which is a three-billion dollar military aid package which needs reviewing. Rumored in the deal presented by President Obama is the demand that the twenty-six percent of those funds permitted to be used by Israel domestically be phased out and that all aid be approved by the President before being shipped even during times of duress such as in a conflict with Hamas, Hezballah or other entity, not exactly an unusual enough occurrence. The difficulty this could present was driven home when President Obama using the State Department held up the scheduled resupply of Hellfire missiles during the 2014 Hamas conflict forcing a rethinking of plans to operate without that strategically vital and important weapons system. Many are looking at the plan and seeing it as a poison pill which Israel should refuse to swallow while others point to the fact that Israel, until President Obama, had almost never had any difficulties and they claim that the American people or Congress could mediate any difficulties despite the wording of the new arms aid proposal that Congress must have no recourse, council or affect upon any decision made by the President and their administration in such military matters concerning Israel. This places an irreversible veto to all military aid in the hands of a single person, the President of the United States, and contrary to seeming popular memory, this was not the first time that an American administration attempted to change the course of a war when the Nixon administration under the advice of Secretary of State Kissinger delayed resupply to Israel during the Yom Kippur War where it was rumored that the missile silos were opened to persuade the Americans that Israel desperately needed the weapons to avoid an escalation neither side desired. That is rumored to have been a very persuasive argument and the arms were released. That led to some of the arms set aside for Israel to be stored in Israel such that Israel never face that predicament again, but obviously that arms cache cannot hold every type and number which may become required or there would be no need for negotiations on a new deal.
There is a second side to the deal which has developed some serious problems and newly found difficulties, the F35 JSF aircraft. The persisting software problems which are delaying delivery to United States frontline air units, the overheating of an aircraft whose electronics are currently cooled by opening all the weapons bays for one minute every ten to fifteen minutes as necessary which compromises every stealth design of the airframe giving enemy radars a fully obvious aircraft for prolonged times otherwise the electronics start to fail, other stealth problems which were unanticipated in the computer modeling (there is something to say for clay and full-scale modeling and test chambers over computer theories), and the necessity to download all information after each flight, the uploading via military network of flight plans before each mission, the ability of the United States to ground all F35 JSF including those given Israel or just the Israeli aircraft, the ability to take charge of the plane mid mission under certain limitations and a plethora of problems some of which will likely not be known until it is too late which makes this aircraft too reliant on American assistance and goodwill to use as the primary fighter in the IAF. Some of these shortcomings have been covered by Caroline Glick and others in their recent articles as well.
Apart from our hopes that the delays and other difficulties cause Israel to never take delivery beyond their initial flight of F35 JSF fighters, the truth is this aircraft fails all standards of measure due to the facts that the aircraft is undeployable as configured, lacks independent missioning of the aircraft free of United States approval, impossible strictly dependent repair as the only method for troubleshooting of the system software and other electronics is by using diagnostics kept within computers in the United States via “secure” downloads and upload of repairs and updates (think Obamacare software or early versions of Windows), and a host of other problems of accepting and basing your nation’s air capabilities on an aircraft not ready for prime time or even airshows without numerous upgrades and some probable system rebuilds which would require returning the fleet to the United States in too many situations. Then there are the negotiations for a new defense treaty which holds a number of points which are equally, some even more so, troubling with the cancellation of the funds available for Israel use at home being just an average of the problems being demanded by the Obama White House. Some even work to the detriment of the United States as well, but even that sacrifice is nothing when one is working to cripple Israeli future defense capabilities independent from White House whims of the moment. Dropping the Israelis ability to use around quarter of the funding on Israeli military spending which will slow both nation’s research in vital areas as the Americans, due to the assistance received from Israeli research in areas such as drones and anti-missile research and development, are dependent on Israeli research to direct their developments in these areas. But this is all about forcing Israeli military research and ability to be strangled making them further dependent upon the United States for any and all advanced weapons systems and greater dependence upon American weapons systems thus placing Israeli defense under control from the White House and, unfortunately, also the State Department.
So, if this is looking like such a stifling deal for the Israelis, then why is there even the slightest consideration given this deal instead of just walking away until the deal returns to something more beneficial for Israel or otherwise prepares to go their own way. The reason for the United States to like this deal are obvious as they would receive all the aid money remaining in the United States spent to strengthen their military and related industries. Further, any surviving Israel research and development would mostly be reliant on United States direct funding, control and benefit from all advances while Israel would be denied similar developments from integration of such discoveries as they will likely no longer be a part of the development team. With time the Israeli defense industries will suffer atrophied funding with many eventually being absorbed by their American counterparts. This in and of itself should make the entire deal a nonstarter. Still, the Israelis are attempting to find the right lipstick which they can put on this pig and make it presentable to the Knesset, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) and the Israeli public.
Still, the political class and some in higher IDF circles are actually going through makeup kits seeking to find the exact shade of lipstick as to sell this deal claiming waiting until the new President is sworn in and then reach a better deal as there are no guarantees on who the new President will turn out to be or their actual feelings regarding Israel. They claim that despite the obvious problems, this treaty can be worked under and improved with time which should allay any Israeli fears. They try to sell this agreement using fear melded with claims that the deal is not as bad as being reported. The real reason that so many top military personnel and politicians are so willing to take this deal is their fear of not possessing the F35 JSF, the aircraft for the next fifty years for the Israeli Air Force. They claim there should be no worries over any early on difficulties as fixes will be forthcoming. We are less optimistic and believe the F35 will be full of difficulties finally seeing limited use in the United States. The deal’s future demands it be completely accepted as is and cannot be altered by Israel, Congress or even a future President. With these clauses the entire deal becomes a poison pill.
The reason any deal has these supporters within the government and the military, especially fairly high up, is these people seek an external source upon which any refusal of action or other distasteful or unacceptable decision could now be passed along and blamed on matters at levels the people are unaware of and pressing interests of an essential ally were involved in the decision. So any deal is a reusable ‘get out of the dog house’ card with which all unpopularity is due to agreements and pressures and such are beyond their control and the people will need to just understand and the media will drop the issue as the fix is in. Yes, obviously there may be such pressures, but that is simply another reason not to accept any deal, contract or treaty in which Israel surrenders her free ability to act to another nations or, as in this case, any foreign individual thus compromising Israel’s ability to act when Israel deems the necessity and not when it is convenient for some foreign head of state whose people are not generally hurt or otherwise compromised by Israeli inaction. Israelis have seen sufficient friends, relatives and even family die after checkpoints were removed to satisfy an unsatisfiable, unfeeling foreign leader whose only problem is Israel and her defense or loss of lives is not their number one problem, the fact Israel exists has become that problem. Such power must not be surrendered unto any foreign decider, especially a position whose track record has been, when it came to Israel and the peace process, to demand from Israel every surrender, sacrifice, concession and other acts of denial or risks taken while ignoring even the broken agreements, treaties and promises from Israel’s enemies simply because, as Israelis too often hear, we are the civil partner of the United States and as such more is demanded from Israel. Perhaps the Israelis would be best served by refusing any deal and manufacturing and designing Israeli first equipment as this would bring building all Israeli defense and military capability home and employ Israeli engineers and manufacturers within our borders and then if the Israeli government were to buy American armaments we can do so as an equal nation and not one dependent on the good will of any foreign power. The Israeli economic benefit from producing our own defense equipment and servicing Israeli designed, built, and software developed domestically would offset any loss of foreign funds. Such systems desired from the United States or any other provider would now be made as an equal and not as the beggar using daddy’s money with limitations which must be accepted as a beggar depends on the alms giver. As an equal, Israel will not be dependent on any foreign power for upgrades and installation of codes or flight permissions even to fly training exercises as now exists. One need wonder why only Israel is kept on such a short leash while other receptors remain independent and do not need sign away sovereignty just for a few pieces of copper. Perhaps Israel needs not the alms which indebts Israel to any foreign influence leaving Israel compromised. Perhaps Israel need rely more on Israel.
Complete freedom to make all Israeli decisions free and unfettered by foreign influences is easily worth every Agora, even three-billion dollars’ worth because Israel must no longer be dependent on others and be constantly looking over their shoulders every step of the way in almost every matter to see if their minder was pleased or distressed after every decision or speech or anything when it comes to Israeli security or military actions. No nation should continue to permit such compromise in their freedoms and decisions as allowing for such control makes one a vassal state and no longer a free nation. The funds received need be put in perspective. They are approximately equal to one percent, that’s 1% of Israeli GDP and as such not an impossible asset which need be bought at such cost. Israel will gain far more international respect and support even at the United Nations if every leader understood that Israel is not and will not be dependent upon any foreign entanglement or restriction in her actions and will act according to the will of the Israeli public in all things concerning sovereignty including militarily. Such independence and freedom to act will more than repay the aid monies from the United States and if such aid becomes direly necessary, then Israel will rely on the good will of the American people and their representatives in their Congress to answer any plea. Israel must refuse to any longer play the beggar in any international forum or venue, even if it means going forward completely alone as Israel had done in the past. That was when Israel received the respect she deserved and Israel desperately needs to regain her freedom to act in her own interest and no other and then wait for the anticipated respect leading to the support of true friends and allies with which Israel will interact without needing ask any foreigner for permission to act in the best interests of the Israeli people. That road should beacon so loudly as to overshadow the cacophonic noises demanding Israeli restraint when it comes to her defense and actions. Imagine how Abbas would tread knowing that the State Department in Washington D.C. no longer had any veto power over Israel to restrict or otherwise mitigate any Israeli actions concerning the Arabs and their incitement to terror and other acts disrespecting Israel leaning on the staff of the State Department and the Secretary of State who would always have Mahmoud Abbas and company’s back. That too has been a steep price which Israel had paid over the last twenty to thirty years and enough is enough with the selling of Israeli independence upon Israel without being dictated to on what Israel is allowed to do and where Israel must only tread with great trepidations of disappointing anybody who holds the President’s ear. Avoiding such entanglements is also a distinct and necessary component of ‘Never Again’ as it were these very same actors who refused Jews any route to safety and would do so again should the prospect once again present itself. When your numbers are but 0.02% of the world’s population, then you hold exactly zero influence in the world except if you have a homeland and then you can act like an equal on the stage of world affairs. As for the dependency of other’s approval we say, “Never Again!”
Beyond the Cusp