Future U.S. military aid to Israel discussed
Israeli and American defense officials have been meeting to discuss a new 10-year military aid package after the current one expires in 2017. Israel’s main concerns are maintaining its so-called Qualitative Military Edge (QME) over its Arab neighbors and modernizing its military.
“I don’t know how big of a role, if at all, QME played in the previous round of negotiations. But the nexus between QME and FMF (U.S. Foreign Military Financing) has become stronger,” Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren told Defense News.
Israel is also concerned about modernizing its military. According to a report in the Economist, Israeli military planners have begun shifting resources away from large mechanized units and infantry designed to defend against Arab armies, to a focus on air power and cyber warfare to deal with new threats from Iran or terror groups like Hezbollah and Hamas.
“We’re looking at a holistic Mideastern picture, which includes growth of missile arsenals in Lebanon and Gaza; the strategic situation in Sinai; the Syrian situation as it impacts us and other countries, including Jordan... and the fact that all this is going on in an age of sequestration,” Oren told Defense News.
But according to American officials, discussions on future U.S. military aid to Israel are still preliminary.
“At this point, we’re trying to understand and assess the full range of Israel’s security concerns,” a U.S. official told Defense News.
Ban backtracking on U.N. bias disappoints Israeli officials
August 21, 2013 9:59am
JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli officials said they were disappointed that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon backtracked on his statements that Israel faces bias and discrimination at the world body.
Unnamed Israeli officials made their comments Tuesday to Israeli media outlets a day after Ban amended the remarks he made late last week to Israeli college students.
Ban told the students during a meeting Aug. 16 in Jerusalem that “unfortunately because of the conflict, Israel has been weighed down by criticism and suffered from bias — sometimes even discrimination.”
“It’s an unfortunate situation,” Ban said, adding that Israel should be treated equal to the other 192 member states of the United Nations.
Asked Monday by a reporter at the U.N. what he intended to do about the bias, Ban retracted the remarks.
“No, I don’t think there is discrimination against Israel at the United Nations,” Ban said.
“The Israeli government maybe raised this issue that there’s some bias against Israel, but Israel is one of the 193 member states. Thus, Israel should have equal rights and opportunities without having any bias, any discrimination. That’s a fundamental principle of the United Nations charter. And thus, Israel should be fully given such rights.”
One unnamed senior Israeli official told Israeli media outlets that Israel was “disappointed” by the remarks.
“It’s clear that Israel has been systematically discriminated against at the United Nations, and the way to start dealing with that issue is first of all to recognize that there’s a problem,” he said. “The secretary’s comments on Friday in Jerusalem about the U.N.’s bias against Israel showed moral leadership, and we hope we’re not seeing backtracking.”