US GIVING ISRAEL 5,000 SMART BOMBS
"Israel would be a much safer place to live if it would give up warfare and weapons and become civil-ized, if it would give up expansion and land grabbing and become decent and humane, if it would care about the 'other' and not only about more and more land, if it would stop being an occupier fretting over 'demography' and become a democracy caring about justice, liberty, and bread for all. "
From Dorothy, Israeli Peace Activist in Israel:
The reason that America gives Israel all these weapons (that last thing that Israel needs) is stated to be to "advance U.S. strategic and tactical interests." US strategic and tactical interests are not necessarily desirable ones, and US and Israeli strategic and tactical interests, need it be said, are not necessarily identical or even parallel. And as for Israel needing a "qualitative" edge, over whom does it need it? And what's "qualitative" about bombs?
Israel would be a much safer place to live if it would give up warfare and weapons and become civil-ized, if it would give up expansion and land grabbing and become decent and humane, if it would care about the 'other' and not only about more and more land, if it would stop being an occupier fretting over 'demography' and become a democracy caring about justice, liberty, and bread for all.
The commercial media today is full of the 2 young men who died at the hands of an 18 year old young woman. But who hears about the house in the village of Huara where 22 people (9 of them children) are closed up in a single floor while the army occupies the top floor (the 3rd floor). Who hears about the families who live in the house having been awakened at 3:30 AM and made to leave the house while the soldiers went in to occupy it. Why this house? Not because anyone in it was 'wanted' but because the army was searching for something in the town and the house was strategically located. The occupants are fortunate that it's fall not winter, that it wasn't pouring rain and muddy outside.
Last year it was pouring when a whole village was awakened at 1:00 AM and ordered out of their houses and their furnishings thrown out on the street after them; the female voice from the Civilian Administration, at the other end of the phone line, responded to my complaint about the 'action' in the middle of the night in the pouring rain: "What do you want? That's perfectly normal." "Normal," I queried in a raised-eybrow voice, and she responded as if it were the most natural thing in the world, "Yes, normal."
Today the male voice at the Civilian Administration assured me that the army would make sure that the 22 people (9 of whom are children, as I said) would not lack for food and drink, even though the city was under curfew, and even though the families were not allowed to leave the house. Then to calm me he assured me that the army would be there "only 2 days." "Only"??? Those two days must seem an eon to the family. Is the army stationing snipers on its roof?
Have you read a word about this in the media? Of course not. Have you read about the violence vented by the IOF on Butrus villagers these past three days protesting the theft of their land and uprooting of their trees? Of course not. Yet it is incidents like this and the numerous worse ones that make life so bleak that it isn't worth living. So then you get the big story, the boom. But the events and happenings that make young Palestinians want to die you seldom hear about from the commercial media. The most amazing thing is that so many more Palestinians (than those who commit suicide) remain under these horrid circumstances emotionally more or less healthy and just want to be allowed to live normal lives.
It is so comforting to know (excuse my scarcasm) that the "bomb deal, one of the largest weapons deals of recent years, did not face any political difficulties, despite the use Israel has made of U.S.-made F-16s in some of its assassinations in the territories." Who would want to cause Bush political difficulties? Besides, Dan Halutz, who was commander of the air force at time the one ton bomb was dropped on a civilian population (killing 15, among them a mother of 10, who was 8 or 9 months pregnant and in bed when the bomb fell) said after the incident that he slept well, and that the only thing he felt when dropping a bomb was a 'click' as it left the plane. If Halutz sleeps well when dropping 1 ton bombs on civilian heads, why should Americans "face political difficulties" for supplying the Halutz's of this world with bombs to drop on more heads?
Finally, coming to the second article, thank goodness for a sane voice on the subject of Iran and atomic weapons in this area. Can you please tell me why Israel needs 200 atomic bombs? Look at what a small leak did to Chernobyl. Can you imagine what one Israeli atomic bomb would do to the ecology of the entire area, not to mention what it would do to life.
On that pleasant thought, I'll close.
Ha'aretz Tuesday, September 21, 2004
U.S. to sell Israel 5,000 smart bombs
By Aluf Benn
The United States will sell Israel 5,000 smart bombs, for $319 million, according to a report made to Congress a few weeks ago.
The funding will come from the U.S. military aid to Israel, and the bombs range from airborne versions, guidance units, training bombs and detonators. The bombs are guided by satellite, in a system already in the Israel Defense Forces arsenal. The guidance unit receives a signal from a satellite, correcting the bomb's course to the target.
The Pentagon told Congress that the bombs are meant to maintain Israel's qualitative advantage, and advance U.S. strategic and tactical interests.
Among the bombs the air force will get are 500 one-ton bunker busters that can penetrate two-meter-thick cement walls; 2,500 regular one-ton bombs; 1,000 half-ton bombs; and 500 quarter-ton bombs.
Government sources said the bomb deal, one of the largest weapons deals of recent years, did not face any political difficulties, despite the use Israel has made of U.S.-made F-16s in some of its assassinations in the territories. The IDF used a one-ton bomb to kill a senior Hamas officer, Salah Shehadeh, in July 2002, an assassination that also took the lives of 15 Palestinian civilians, including children. In September 2003, the air force used a smaller, quarter-ton bomb, to strike at Hamas leaders, but missed. In other cases, half-ton bombs have been used.
The government sources said Israel will not be asking for any new weapons systems or purchases until after the upcoming November elections. On October 12, delegations from the two countries meet for their regular six month session for strategic cooperation. [How sweet of Israel to not ask for more new weapons systems or purchases until after the elections! D] ===================================================================
International Herald Tribune
http://www.iht.com/bin/print.php?file=539860.htmlIsrael's nukes serve to justify Iran's
Jonathan Power IHT Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Deterring the deterrents
The more nuclear arms are lying around, the more the chances of them being used. So to persuade Iran to forgo nuclear weapons is a laudable objective. But for the United States, Britain and France to insist on it is hypocritical. These Western powers have argued convincingly for decades that nuclear deterrence keeps the peace - and themselves maintain nuclear armories long after the cold war has ended.
So why shouldn't Iran, which is in one of the world's most dangerous neighborhoods, have a deterrent too?And where is the source of the threat that makes Iran, a country that has never started a war in 200 years, feel so nervous that it must now take the nuclear road?
If Saddam Hussein's Iraq, with its nuclear ambitions, used to be one reason, the other is certainly Israel, the country that hard-liners in the United States are encouraging to mount a pre-emptive strike against Iran's nuclear industry before it produces bombs.
The United States refuses to acknowledge formally that Israel has nuclear weapons, even though top officials will tell you privately that it has 200 of them. Until this issue is openly acknowledged, America, Britain and France are probably wasting their time trying to persuade Iran to forgo nuclear weapons.
The supposition is that Israel lives in an even more dangerous neighborhood than Iran. It is said to be a beleaguered nation under constant threat of being eliminated by the combined muscle of its Arab opponents.There is no evidence, however, that Arab states have invested the financial and human resources necessary to fight the kind of war that would be catastrophic for Israel.
And there is no evidence that Israel's nuclear weapons have deterred the Arabs from more limited wars or prevented Palestinian intifadas and suicide bombers.Nor have Israel's nuclear weapons influenced Arab attitudes toward making peace. In the 1973 Arab war against Israel and in the 1991 Gulf war, they clearly failed in their supposed deterrent effect. The Arabs knew, as the North Vietnamese knew during the Vietnam War, that their opponent would not dare to use its nuclear weapons.
Israelis say that they need nuclear weapons in case one day an opportunistic Egypt and Syria, sensing that Israel's guard is down, revert to their old stance of total hostility and attack Israel. But, as Zeev Maoz has argued in the journal International Security, these countries keep to their treaty obligations.Egypt did not violate its peace treaty with Israel when Israel attacked Syria and Lebanon in 1982. Syria did not violate the May 1974 disengagement agreement with Israel even when its forces were under Israeli attack. Nor did Egypt, Jordan and Syria violate their treaty commitments when the second Palestinian intifada broke out in September 2000.
Since its 1979 peace treaty with Israel, Egypt has reduced its defense spending from 22 percent of its gross national product in 1974 to a mere 2.75 percent in 2002. Syria's has fallen from 26 percent to 6.7 percent. The combined defense expenditures of Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon amount to only 58 percent of Israel's. It is the Arabs who should be worried by Israel's might, rather than the other way round.
Israel's nuclear weapons are politically unusable and militarily irrelevant, given the real threats it faces. But they have been very effective in allowing India, Pakistan, Libya, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, North Korea and now Iran to think that they, too, had good reason to build a nuclear deterrent. Four of these nations have dismantled their nuclear arms factories, which shows that nuclear policies are not cast in stone.
The way to deal with Iran is to prove to its leadership that nuclear weapons will add nothing to its security, just as they add nothing to Israel's.This may require a grand bargain, which would mean the United States offering a mutual nonaggression pact, ending its embargo over access to the International Monetary Fund and allowing American investment in Iran.
It would also mean America coming clean about Israel's nuclear armory and pressuring Israel to forgo its nuclear deterrent.If Western powers want to grasp the nettle of nuclear proliferation, they need to take hold of the whole plant, not just one leaf.Jonathan Power is a commentator on foreign affairs.
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