A ministerial panel headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak made a final decision Thursday to purchase 20 new F-35 fighter jets, despite opposition from a number of senior defense officials over the high cost of the deal.So it's more weapons paid for by the United States and built by the United States going to Israel. The only real argument was over which country's weapons manufacturers would get to jump on the money train.
Barak gave his go-ahead last month to purchase the jets in a deal valued at around $2.75 billion. The first planes are expected to arrive in 2015.
The Israel Air Force, however, will have to make do with considerably fewer planes than the 75 originally sought. The entire deal will be funded by American military...
...Negotiations dragged on for more than two years amid several disagreements; many revolved around the IAF's demands that Israeli-made systems be installed for specialties such as electronic warfare and communications. Israel also wanted to expand the plane's capacity to allow it to carry Israeli-made missiles.
The Americans declined, however, insisting that the deal was a "closed package" and none of the components could be altered.
In any case, the F-35 will give the IAF outstanding radar-dodging capabilities that allow preemptive strikes against enemy states with advanced air defense technologies.
Note the pre-emptive capability. This is the heart of the "Bush Doctrine" that got us into the mess of Iraq and, since Israel does as it pleases with U.S. weaponry, may get us into another mess.
Interestingly, at the moment, U.S. Secretary of State Clinton is pleading with Netanyahu to stop the settlements, even if only temporarily. From another story in the same issue of Haaretz today...
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Israel on Thursday to extend its freeze of construction in West Bank settlements, telling Channel 10 in an interview that such a move would be "extremely useful" in advancing peace negotiations with the Palestinians.So the try for peace is a poor relation to the arming of Israel. Both are regular features in the Middle East. The difference is that the arming goes on successfully year in and year out, while the "peace process" fails to even stop the settlements, let alone make any headway toward justice for the Palestinians. Israeli pilots fly, Palestinians die.
Clinton, who was visiting the region this week for a second round of direct talks between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamain Netanyahu, suggested extending the partial freeze for even a limited amount of time...
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