Category Archives: Israel

Trump’s Troubling Israel Appointees

Kelley Vlahos writes for The American Conservative:

There is much to learn about what Donald Trump’s foreign policy is going to look like, with one of the most anticipated issues being his approach to Israel. After eight years of the Obama administration, the relationship between the U.S. and its Middle East partner has frayed considerably over significant and seemingly insurmountable differences, those concerning the nuclear deal with Iran and the expanding settlements in the West Bank being the most consequential, if not existential.

Trump started off his campaign signaling he would be “neutral” on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, but he has shifted considerably in recent weeks toward the views of the staunchest Zionists. This has included tapping a man considered to be to the right of conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as U.S. ambassador to Israel, choosing another pro-settlement Republican as his international business adviser, welcoming the heretofore marginalized Israeli ambassador into the bosom of his inner circle in Washington, and, just recently, appointing his son-in-law, who is reportedly behind bringing all these players into the fold, as a senior adviser.

Trump’s not-so-subtle slide toward the far right of the spectrum has alarmed more moderate—some would say Democratic—Jewish groups and establishment writers, who sense in this group a strong consensus against a two-state solution for Israeli Jews and Arab Palestinians. Collectively, there is more support here for expanded settlements in contested Palestinian territories, and for moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, than there has been at the levers of Washington power in a long time, if ever. If these forces have their way, an already fragile Middle East could be headed for a new regional conflagration, with the peace process turned back decades.

READ MORE…

The Two-State Solution Is Already Dead

Gideon Levy writes for Haaretz:

Image result for Two-state SolutionA question for declared supporters of the two-state solution, which means almost everyone, from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to Prof. Shlomo Avineri: You all say that this solution is in great danger, maybe even in its death throes. So what needs to happen for you to admit that it has breathed its last? What else needs to happen for you to declare it dead? Another 10,000 settlers? Or 20,000? Another five years of stalemate? When will you admit it?

Most people know the truth but refuse to admit it. They know that the number of settlers has reached a critical mass. They know that no party in Israel will ever evacuate them. And without all of them being evacuated – and this, too, is something they know – there is no viable Palestinian state.

They know that settler Israel never intended to implement the two-state solution. The fact is that all Israeli governments – all of them – continued the settlement enterprise.

READ MORE…

Andrew Bacevich on Trump Appointing More Generals to His Cabinet Than Any President Since World War II

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez speak to Andrew Bacevich, a retired colonel and Vietnam War veteran and professor emeritus of international relations and history at Boston University, about Donald Trump and his military generals. They also discuss Trump tapping the far-right-wing bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman to be the U.S. ambassador to Israel. Bacevich’s latest book is titled: America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History(Democracy Now!)

How Israel Became a Hub for Surveillance Technology

Alex Kane reports for The Intercept:

[…] Increasingly, the skills developed by spying and waging cyberwarfare don’t stay in the military. Unit 8200 is a feeder school to the private surveillance industry in Israel, the self-proclaimed “startup nation” — and the products those intelligence veterans create are sold to governments around the world to spy on people. While the companies that Unit 8200 veterans run say their technologies are essential to keeping people safe, privacy advocates warn their products undermine civil liberties.

In August, Privacy International, a watchdog group that investigates government surveillance, released a report on the global surveillance industry. The group identified 27 Israeli surveillance companies — the highest number per capita of any country in the world. (The United States leads the world in sheer number of surveillance companies: 122.) Unit 8200 veterans either founded or occupy high-level positions in at least eight of the Israeli surveillance companies named by Privacy International, according to publicly available information. And that list doesn’t include companies like Narus, which was founded by Israeli veterans of Unit 8200 but is now owned by Boeing, the American defense contractor. (Privacy International categorized Narus as an American company because it’s headquartered in California.) Narus technology helped AT&T collect internet traffic and billions of emails and forward that information to the National Security Agency, according to reporting in Wired magazine and documents from the Snowden archive.

“It is alarming that surveillance capabilities developed in some of the world’s most advanced spying agencies are being packaged and exported around the world for profit,” said Edin Omanovic, a research officer at Privacy International. “The proliferation of such intrusive surveillance capabilities is extremely dangerous and poses a real and fundamental threat to human rights and democratization.”

READ MORE…

From Gaza to Aleppo: A Handy Guide for Defending War Crimes

Stephen Zunes writes for In These Times:

Given the United States’ disastrous record in the Middle East—most critically the invasion and occupation of Iraq—and the manifold lies coming out of Washington to justify its policies, many Americans are understandably skeptical about U.S. interventions and the rationalizations used to defend them. This leads many Americans to oppose both direct intervention in Syria and the arming of rebel factions—and rightly so.

But while there is room for debate on some aspects of the conflict, certain elements of the anti-war movement and the anti-imperialist Left—such as the U.S. Peace Council, the ANSWER Coalition, some Green Party leaders and even Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire—go beyond opposing U.S. intervention and implicitly (and in some cases, explicitly) defend the corrupt and autocratic regime of Bashar al-Assad. They minimize or deny its responsibility for war crimes, attempt to discredit the reputable human rights organizations that document these crimes, treat virtually the entire Syrian opposition as its most extreme and violent components and attack fellow Leftists who disagree with them.

Many of the arguments used to defend the Syrian regime’s devastating attacks on rebel-held cities are eerily similar to those used by U.S. politicians, in their public statements and in a series of bipartisan Congressional resolutions, to defend Israel’s massive assaults on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. By combining segments of these statements and resolutions supporting Israel’s “right to self-defense” with certain anti-imperialists’ writings on Syria, I was able to put together the ultimate guide to defending war crimes.

READ MORE…

Colin Powell in Leaked Email Says Israel Has 200 Nukes

Jack Moore reports for Newsweek:

Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin PowellFormer U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell alleged that Israel has a nuclear arsenal of 200 warheads, a thorny subject that Israel never comments on, according to an email that Russian hackers leaked earlier this week.

Israel is not a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and maintains a policy of nuclear ambiguity, refusing to speak about its rumored nuclear arsenal and never even going as far as to admit that it has possession of nuclear weapons.

But Powell may have given away the size of Israel’s nuclear arsenal. Speaking to Democratic party donor Jeffrey Leeds about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the U.S. Congress focusing on the Iranian nuclear deal, he wrote that Iran would never use a nuclear weapon if it was able to develop one. He then stated that Israel has hundreds of nukes and Washington thousands, suggesting that such firepower would deter any Iranian action.

READ MORE…

Why Celtic Fans Flew the Flag for Palestine

Kevin McKenna writes for The Guardian:

[…] During the fascist regime of General Franco in Spain, to display the Catalan flag was to risk death or imprisonment. The only place where the Catalans could safely fly these fags was Barcelona’s Nou Camp stadium. Barcelona FC now embodies Catalan identity and pride. Wherever there is oppression in the world, football, by its very nature, can provide a vehicle for expressing pride in a national cause. It was never only ever about football.

Celtic supporters know this too. Their club was founded in 1887 and played its first game in 1888 to raise funds for the relief of the poor Irish who had gathered in the East End of Glasgow. When they arrived in the city they initially faced resentment, discrimination and squalor. Every time Celtic won a game their suffering was eased a little.

In Scotland, those days are long departed. In Palestine, though, another oppressed people is suffering. Perhaps now because of a simple act of solidarity and generosity, they will know that they don’t suffer alone.

READ MORE…

63% of casualties in 2014 Gaza War were civilians, says B’Tselem report

Eliyahu Kamisher reports for the Jerusalem Post:

Two years after Operations Protective Edge, a B’Tselem report said 1,394, or 63 percent, of the 2,202 Palestinians killed by the IDF did not take part in the conflict.

This is lower than the figure cited by the United Nations and other NGOs of 70% but is still higher than Israeli intelligence estimates of 50%. Sixty-six soldiers and seven civilians were killed on the Israeli side.

The data gathered by B’Tselem, and released on Wednesday, was collected from field researchers in Gaza, cross-referenced with publicly available data.

This report is the first time B’Tselem has collected data on the war. Prior to this all casualty numbers were based on outside figures.

According to B’Tselem spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli the purpose of the report is to inform the Israeli public of the war’s high death toll.

READ MORE…

Israeli Parliament Passes Law Enabling Ouster of Legislators

Isabel Kershner reports for The New York Times:

The Israeli Parliament passed contentious legislation early Wednesday that enables the suspension or ouster of members accused of racial incitement or of supporting armed struggle against Israel. Critics said it was intended to target Arab legislators and harmed democratic principles like freedom of expression.

The legislation, which was approved by a vote of 62 to 47, with several members absent, after a stormy debate, requires the support of 90 out of the Parliament’s 120 lawmakers to oust someone. Setting such a process in motion requires the votes of 70 lawmakers, including 10 from the opposition, which makes the process difficult to carry out. Lawmakers voted out of Parliament would be able to appeal to the Supreme Court.

But the law has added to the sense that Israel’s conservative government is pushing populist and questionable measures that some opposition politicians have called discriminatory and even indicative of “budding fascism.”

READ MORE…

EU eyes Israeli technologies for spotting militants online

Dan Williams reports for Reuters:

European powers are trying to develop better means for pre-emptively spotting “lone-wolf” militants from their online activities and are looking to Israeli-developed technologies, a senior EU security official said on Tuesday.

Last week’s truck rampage in France and Monday’s axe attack aboard a train in Germany have raised European concern about self-radicalized assailants who have little or no communications with militant groups that could be intercepted by spy agencies.

“How do you capture some signs of someone who has no contact with any organization, is just inspired and started expressing some kind of allegiance? I don’t know. It’s a challenge,” EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove told Reuters on the sidelines of a intelligence conference in Tel Aviv.

READ MORE…

Israel Targeting Palestinian Protesters on Facebook

Alex Kane reports for The Intercept:

[…] Facebook has not changed the fundamental contours of the conflict, but it has accelerated it. A demonstration against the Israeli occupation can be organized in a matter of hours, while the monitoring of Palestinians is made easier by the large digital footprint they leave on their laptops and mobile phones.

Israeli officials have blamed social media for inciting a wave of violent attacks by Palestinians that began in October 2015. Since then, Israeli security forces have arrested about 400 Palestinians for social media activity, according to Palestinian rights groups Addameer and Adalah. Most of the arrests have been for postings on Facebook, a popular network among Palestinians.

In that year alone, the Israeli attorney general opened 155 investigations into alleged social media incitement, a marked increase from previous years, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz (although the law on social media incitement applies to all citizens and residents, the vast majority of cases have been directed at Arabs in Israel).

The arrests of Palestinians for Facebook posts open a window into the practices of Israel’s surveillance state and reveal social media’s darker side. What was once seen as a weapon of the weak has turned into the perfect place to ferret out potential resistance.

READ MORE…

Why Elie Wiesel Never Caught on in Israel

Judy Maltz writes for Haaretz:

Elie Wiesel, who died this weekend at age 87, may have been the most famous Holocaust survivor in the world. But, ironically, that never gained him a huge following in Israel.

His best-known book “Night,” an account of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald – required reading at high schools around the United States – has never been incorporated into the Israeli school curriculum.

“We have a few copies in our library,” says Zeev Degani, the principal of Tel Aviv’s Gymnasia Herzliya, the oldest Hebrew high school in the country. “But I would assume that the number of students who’ve actually read it is close to zero.”

READ MORE…

Elie Wiesel is Dead

Marc H. Ellis writes for Mondoweiss:

Elie Wiesel (Photo: AP/Bebeto Matthews)Elie Wiesel is dead. The Holocaust world I cut my teeth on is coming to an end.

Is the world that cut its teeth on the Holocaust also coming to an end?

In their life and death, iconic figure like Elie Wiesel move us in different ways. The day after Wiesel’s death, it is time to take stock. In which direction are we heading?

I have been reading and writing about Wiesel for more than forty years. Though I have my arguments with Wiesel and other theologians and philosophers of the Holocaust, I never dismissed them as fakes or fools as some have. I will not do so today.

Those who explored the depths of the Holocaust were a great and deeply flawed generation. With reference to their hawkish stands on Israel, Wiesel and other Holocaust commentators simply did not understand what they had become involved in. If and when they understood, it was too late.

In the end, Wiesel was deeply corrupted by his use of the Holocaust he suffered so deeply from. Once an insurgent in Jewish life by insisting on the overriding importance of the Holocaust, in his later years, Wiesel became a cheerleader for an apartheid Israel and American military sanctions and intervention in the Middle East, all revolving around his support for Israel.

Wiesel became a caricature of himself. He trivialized the Holocaust he wrote so movingly about.

READ MORE…

Israel’s Army Goes to War With Its Politicians

Ronen Bergman reports for The New York Times:

In most countries, the political class supervises the defense establishment and restrains its leaders from violating human rights or pursuing dangerous, aggressive policies. In Israel, the opposite is happening. Here, politicians blatantly trample the state’s values and laws and seek belligerent solutions, while the chiefs of the Israel Defense Forces and the heads of the intelligence agencies try to calm and restrain them.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s offer last week of the post of defense minister to Avigdor Lieberman, a pugnacious ultranationalist politician, is the latest act in the war between Mr. Netanyahu and the military and intelligence leaders, a conflict that has no end in sight but could further erode the rule of law and human rights, or lead to a dangerous, superfluous military campaign.

The prime minister sees the defense establishment as a competitor to his authority and an opponent of his goals. Putting Mr. Lieberman, an impulsive and reckless extremist, in charge of the military is a clear signal that the generals’ and the intelligence chiefs’ opposition will no longer be tolerated. Mr. Lieberman is known for ruthlessly quashing people who hold opposing views.

READ MORE…

Former Officials See ‘Seeds of Fascism’ in New Israeli Govt

Jason Ditz reports for Antiwar:

Every new government in Israel represents a rightward shift in recent years. After the dissolution of Ehud Olmert’s centrist government 2009, Israel saw a right-far-right coalition installed, replaced in 2013 by a simply far-right coalition. The new coalition is moving the bar even farther right.

Things have gotten so bad within Israel that one normally hawkish top military affairs commentator on Israel’s Channel 2 news urged his children to leave the country, saying he is genuinely afraid for their future, while former defense minister Ehud Barak warned the new government meant Israel is “infected by the seeds of fascism.”

Other former officials are lining up almost uniformly to warn that the ouster of the comparatively moderate Moshe Ya’alon in favor of ultra-hawk Avigdor Lieberman marks an historic shift in Israeli politics, and one that’s likely to have a particularly damaging impact.

READ MORE…

Outgoing Defense Minister Ya’alon: Extremists Have Taken Over Israel

Jonathan Lis reports for Haaretz:

Extremist elements have taken over the country, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon warned on Friday morning as he explained his resignation from political life.

“This morning I told the prime minister that I’m resigning from the government and the Knesset and taking a break from political life,” Ya’alon said at the IDF’s military quarters in Tel Aviv. “I have no intention of leaving the public and political life, and in the future will return to compete for the national leadership of Israel.”

“I saw before me the safety of Israel and its citizens in all of my acts and decisions, and the good of the country above all other considerations. This was so in security and professionals matters and in matters of values and rule of the law.”

Earlier on Friday, Ya’alon wrote on Facebook that “I notified the prime minister this morning that following his conduct in the latest developments and in view of the lack of trust in him, I am resigning from the government and the Knesset and taking time out from political life.”

READ MORE…

Netanyahu Is Using Lieberman to Break Israel’s Oldest Elite: The Military

Anshel Pfeffer writes for Haaretz:

No one on the Israeli political scene knows Benjamin Netanyahu better than Avigdor Lieberman. Netanyahu knows that – and that’s exactly why he would have preferred Isaac Herzog as his new coalition partner.

Ultimately, however, Netanyahu opted to go with Lieberman after reaching the conclusion that Herzog can barely promise to deliver his own vote in the Knesset and no longer commands the loyalty or obedience of Zionist Union lawmakers. The chairman of the Labor Party has gone – in the space of 14 months – from the great hope, the man who could finally topple Netanyahu, to a leader without a party.

And that leaves Netanyahu with Lieberman – the only man who can offer him a broader, more secure coalition.

Not that Netanyahu trusts Lieberman, of course. Worse still, he fears him. But as far as their interests coincide, he knows that, unlike Herzog, Lieberman can deliver what he promises.

READ MORE…

Why a British Fight Over Israel and Anti-Semitism Matters to the Rest of Us

Robert Mackey writes for The Intercept:

At first glance, the heated argument two members of the British Labour Party conducted in front of reporters’ iPhones on Thursday, sparked by accusations that one of their colleagues posted anti-Semitic comments on Facebook, seems like a story of interest mainly to political junkies in London.

When the debate is unpacked, however, it becomes clear that what’s at stake is something much broader: whether critics of Israel, who question its government’s policies or its right to exist as a Jewish state, are engaged in a form of coded anti-Semitism. That matters because attempts to disqualify all critics of Israel as racists are widespread across the globe.

In the United States, for instance, supporters of a movement to boycott Israel until it grants Palestinians full civil rights have recently been condemned as anti-Semites by Hillary Clinton; last month, the University of California, adopted a policy on discrimination that implies anti-Semitism is behind opposition to Zionism, the political ideology asserting that the Jewish people have a right to a nation-state in historic Palestine.

But how did this issue come to dominate the political debate in Britain, a week before important local elections?

READ MORE…

US Ready to Offer Israel Largest Aid Package in History

Raoul Wootliff reports for The Times of Israel:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and President Barack Obama embrace at a ceremony welcoming the US leader at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, on March 20, 2013 (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)A White House official indicated on Monday that the Obama administration was ready to offer Israel the largest military aid package offered to any country over the course of US history.

Amid a push by a large majority of senators to increase foreign aid to Israel, a White House official told Reuters: “We are prepared to sign an MOU [memorandum of understanding] with Israel that would constitute the largest single pledge of military assistance to any country in US history.”

The official said discussions with Israel were ongoing on a memorandum of understanding that would increase US military aid to Israel for the next 10 years, due to be renewed before 2018.

More than 80 of the 100 sitting US senators signed a letter Monday calling on President Barack Obama to increase aid to Israel and immediately sign an agreement on a new defense package. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is not one of the 83 signatories.

READ MORE…

Gideon Levy: Americans “Are Supporting the First Signs of Fascism in Israel”

Journalist and author Max Blumenthal talks to Gideon Levy, Haaretz columnist and one-time spokesman for former Israeli President Shimon Peres, about how the Israeli occupation has poisoned not only the region but much of the world, and how BDS might be the last standing hope to dismantle it. (The Real News)

Hillary Clinton goes full Neocon at AIPAC, Demonizes Iran, Palestinians

Juan Cole writes for Informed Comment:

I once heard Hillary Clinton give her AIPAC speech at a university. It doesn’t change much, just as US policy toward the Mideast doesn’t change much. She was still a senator then. Much of the audience was Middle East experts, who could barely keep themselves from gagging.

Clinton used her speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee meeting, the gathering of some of the most powerful lobbyists in Washington, to lambaste Donald Trump for saying he’d try to be neutral in heading up negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Donald Trump should be lambasted. He is wrong on everything most of every day. But, like a clock, he is right twice a day and this a point on which he is correct. The US cannot be an honest broker in the Mideast conflict if it is more Israeli than the Israelis, which it typically is. Palestinian negotiators over the years complained that they’d get an Israeli proposal, then go to the US to tweak it, and get back the same proposal from Dennis Ross or some other American partisan of Israel who had been put in a position to shape negotiations on the American side.

READ MORE…

At AIPAC, Hillary Vows to Uphold Israel’s Military Dominance: Interview with Larry Wilkerson

Sharmini Peries talks to Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell, about Hilary Clinton’s speech on AIPAC which he sees as alarming. (The Real News)

The Contrived Iran Threat

Philip Giraldi writes for The Unz Review:

Rev GuardsThe Israeli Minister of Defense is now telling anyone who is willing to listen that the Iranian government is building an “international terror network that includes sleeper cells that are stockpiling arms, intelligence and operatives to be ready to strike on command in places including Europe and the U.S.” Moshe Yaalon elaborated that Iran intends to destabilize the entire Middle East as well as other parts of the world and is “training, funding and arming ‘emissaries’ to spread a revolution,” all emanating from a “dangerous axis” that includes Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa.

These preposterous claims come on top of spurious assertions that Iran was building a nuclear weapon, repeated assiduously by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others in his various administrations over the course of twenty years. As it turns out, Iran was not building a nuke and much of the information used to bolster the argument being made turned out to be fabricated by the Israelis themselves, which says something for their credibility.

READ MORE…

Prominent American Professor Proposes That Israel “Flatten Beirut”

Ben Norton reports for Salon:

(A screenshot of the Haaretz headline, which was later changed)A prominent American scholar who teaches international relations at George Washington University has publicly proposed that Israel “flatten Beirut” — a city with around 1 million people — in order to destroy the missiles of Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah.

Professor Amitai Etzioni — who has taught at a variety of prestigious U.S. universities, including Columbia, Harvard and Berkeley, and who served as a senior advisor in President Jimmy Carter’s administration — made this proposal in an op-ed in Haaretz, the leading English-language Israeli newspaper, known as “The New York Times of Israel.” Haaretz represents the liberal wing of Israel’s increasingly far-right politics.

Etzioni’s op-ed was first published on Feb. 15 with the headline “Can Israel Obliterate Hezbollah’s Growing Missile Threat Without Massive Civilian Casualties?” (the answer he suggests in response to this question is “likely no”).

“Should Israel Flatten Beirut to Destroy Hezbollah’s Missiles?” was the next, much more blunt title, chosen sometime on or before Feb. 16.

READ MORE…

New Film Reveals History and Consequences of Israeli Settlements on Palestinian Land: Interview with Shimon Dotan

Amy Goodman talks to Shimon Dotan, an award winning filmmaker and director of a new film, The Settlers, which has just had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. (Democracy Now!)

Genocide Scholar Blasts Israel’s ‘Racist’ Teaching of the Holocaust

Ofer Aderet reports for Haaretz:

A memorial to the murdered European Sinti and Roma who were persecuted as 'Gypsies,' designed by Dani Karavan , in Berlin, 2012.The cover of the new book by historian and genocide scholar Prof. Yair Auron features a drawing of five different-colored patches: red for political prisoners; black for asocial and work-shy prisoners; pink for homosexuals; brown for Gypsies; and purple for Jehovah’s Witnesses. Only one color is missing – the yellow patch for Jews. The book’s title, “The Non-Jewish Victims of the Nazi Regime,” explains why.

Auron, 70, professor emeritus at the Open University, specializes in genocide studies and has devoted the past few decades to a politically charged and sensitive issue: the attempt to introduce into the Israeli education system a recognition of the suffering of other peoples who were decimated, both in the Holocaust and other historical circumstances.

His thesis is clear: Israel prefers to avoid, repress and minimize the suffering of other peoples in the Holocaust and other circumstances, to perpetuate victimization and isolationism.

“It must be asked if, in Israel in 2016, instead of also shaping Holocaust commemoration through humanist and democratic values, it is unknowingly – and, perhaps for many, knowingly – fostering racism and xenophobia,” Auron told Haaretz in an interview marking the book’s publication. “Ignoring the non-Jewish victims is perhaps the most concrete manifestation of this trend,” he added.

READ MORE…

Ex-Israeli PM Ehud Olmert Sentenced in Bribery Scandal But Remains Popular: Interview with Shir Hever

Jessica Desvarieux talks to Shir Hever, an economist from the Alternative Research Center. Hever explains why the majority of Israeli society remain in strong support of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert despite his being sentenced to 18 months in jail for bribery. (The Real News)

Israel Requesting Over $5 Billion in US Military Aid

IMEMC News reports:

The Israeli government has made an initial request for its annual U.S. defense package to increase by as much as $5 billion when its current aid package, worth an average $3 billion a year, expires in 2017, U.S. congressional sources said, this last Wednesday.

PNN reports that, according to Reuters, Israel wants $5 billion per year in military aid for 10 years, for a total of $50 billion. The US congress spokesman stated that Israel has been signalling that it wants more money to “counter threats it says will arise as a result of the international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, which Israel’s government has staunchly opposed”.

READ MORE…

Pentagon Chief: Gulf countries don’t need billions of dollars in weapons U.S. sells them each year

Jeffrey Goldberg reports for The Atlantic:

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter had reassuring words for Israel when I interviewed him last week in his office at the Pentagon, but he also had blunt criticism of other American allies in the Middle East: the Arab Gulf states, who, he argued, sometimes appear unwilling to effectively engage their enemies. Carter suggested that these states—the members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and Egypt as well—would rather build show-horse air forces than commit to the dangerous work of countering ISIS and Iran, the main bogeymen of moderate Arab states.

“If you look at where the Iranians are able to wield influence, they are in the game, on the ground,” Carter said, referring to Iranian military activities in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen. “We don’t like it that they’re in the game on the ground, but they are in the game. There is a sense that some of the Gulf states are up there at 30,000 feet,” more interested in acquiring advanced fighter jets than in building—and deploying—special-operations forces.

READ MORE…

Israel’s Weapons of Influence: Interview with Jeff Halper

Afshin Rattansi talks to Jeff Halper, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Head of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and the author of a new book: War Against the People: Israel, the Palestinians and Global Pacification. Halper gets into how Israel uses its military might to influence some of the most powerful countries in the world and how Britain helped lay the legal framework for the demolishment of homes in Palestine. (Going Underground)