WASHINGTON, D.C.– In what can only be described as yet another massive giveaway of military aid, the Senate Armed Services Committee’s latest draft of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would give $705 million to Israeli missile defense programs. The sizable sum is a remarkable $588 million increase from the request made by President Donald Trump and a $105 million increase from last year’s NDAA.
The committee’s draft of the NDAA, which would fund the Pentagon over the next fiscal year, would grant $268.5 million for the research, development, testing and evaluation of “multi-tiered missile defense systems” along with $290 million more for their purchase.
According to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the systems receiving funding include the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 systems. While most are developed by Israeli weapon manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, some – namely David’s Sling – are made in cooperation with U.S. arms giant Raytheon. Both companies are sure to greatly benefit from the NDAA’s patronage if the bill is passed in its current draft form.
In a tweet posted last Thursday, AIPAC stated that the additional funds “will help Israel defend its citizens against rocket and missile threats, and contribute to America’s missile defense programs,” hinting at Raytheon’s role in their development.
Some have argued that Israel’s huge missile defense system is overkill, given the type of rockets that have targeted Israel in the past. For example, rockets launched by Hamas – which are mostly homemade and by no means military-grade – have caused minimal casualties compared to the repeated bombings of Gaza conducted by the Israeli Defense Forces over the years.
— AIPAC (@AIPAC) June 29, 2017
U.S. funding for the Israeli missile defense program is nothing new. In 2016, the U.S. spent $487.5 million on the program, which increased to more than $600 million in 2017. The millions of dollars the NDAA draft allocates to Israeli missile defense represents only a fraction of the military aid Israel receives annually from U.S. taxpayers. The amount of aid is so massive that current figures place the amount of U.S. military aid given to Israel on a daily basis at $9.8 million. It has been the largest recipient of U.S. economic and military aid since 1976.
This already enormous amount of military aid received a huge boost in 2016, when the Obama administration pledged $38 billion to the Israeli military over the next ten years. It was – and still is – the largest military assistance deal the U.S. has ever made with another nation. Allegedly, Israel agreed not to ask Congress for additional funds outside of the deal. However, the latest 2018 NDAA draft shows this apparent concession on Israel’s part was not meant to last, likely due to the Trump administration’s close ties to Israel.
McCain & Neocons up DOD budget by $100 billion + Get ready for FAMIGA – F**k America, Make Israel Great Again
— CatherineAustinFitts (@TheSolariReport) June 30, 2017
In addition, Israel has long maintained that the development of state-of-the-art missile systems is essential in defending itself against Iran, citing concerns about Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon despite the 2015 Iran nuclear accord. However, U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies are well aware that Iran has never had a nuclear weapons development program and that all of the nation’s nuclear activity has been used for civilian purposes.
Israel, by contrast, is widely known to have several hundred nuclear warheads in its arsenal, many of which are presumed to be exceedingly powerful and possess sophisticated delivery capabilities. According to leaked emails from former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Israel has hundreds of nuclear weapons pointed at Iran. In addition, despite being the only nuclear power in the Middle East, Israel is the only country in the region that has refused to sign the nuclear weapon non-proliferation treaty.