Squeeze Israel by cutting US aid? Not likely

Karoun Demijarian; 20/3/10

The diplomatic crisis between the US and Israel has sent a tremor through their alliance, but one key part of the bond seems virtually untouchable: The roughly $3 billion a year in US military aid. Israel’s harsher critics often call for aid cuts to twist Israel’s arm. Yet amid the uproar of recent days over plans to build 1,600 new homes for a Jewish neighborhood in a disputed part of Jerusalem, there has been no serious talk of using aid as a club. One reason may be the potential backlash from Israel’s supporters in the US. Another is that the overwhelming part of the money cycles back into the American economy. Israel is the biggest recipient of American aid after Afghanistan. But unlike most other countries, Israel’s aid is earmarked entirely for military spending. Under an agreement between the two allies, at least three-quarters of the aid must be spent with US companies.

See: http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article32618.ece; Construction in Jerusalem illegal: Ban Ki-moon; 20/3/10; http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article32553.ece; Israel is above international law; http://arabnews.com/opinion/columns/article32949.ece; Jewish politicians are taking Jerusalem’s name in vain; Akiva Eldar; 20/3/10; http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1158060.html; Palestinians can use route 443, but Israel will seize Palestinian land to ‘secure’ it; Chaim Levinson; See: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1157741.html