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US Congress Passes Bill Increasing Weapons in Israel by $200 Million

By Ken Klippenstein and Paul Gottinger | Reader Supported News | December 17, 2014

The US Senate has unanimously passed a bill supplying Israel with military equipment that would enable it to execute an air strike on Iran. The bill, titled the US-Israel Strategic Partnership Act, includes the sale of advanced aerial refueling tankers, which refuel fighter jets in midflight – necessary for Israeli fighter jets to reach targets in Iran. This is particularly noteworthy since the Bush administration had refused to provide Israel with refueling tankers.

The sale of the refueling tankers follows a 2013 arms sale to Israel that included V-22 Ospreys. Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institution stated shortly after the sale that Ospreys are “the ideal platform for sending Israeli special forces into Iran.”

The bill, which was also passed in the House earlier this year, expands the US weapons stockpile in Israel by a value of $200 million, to a total of $1.8 billion. Israel used weapons from this stockpile during its most recent military operation against Gaza, “Operation Protective Edge.” Israel also used the stockpile during its 2006 invasion of Lebanon.

The bill has generated concern among experts. Mike Coogan, legislative coordinator at US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, told us that the air refueling capabilities, expanded satellite cooperation, and access to US satellite data that the bill would grant Israel “sounds quite dangerous.”

“It sounds like a formula for attacking Iran.”

The bill may also be in violation of the Leahy Law, which prohibits US weapons exports to military units responsible for consistent human rights violations. Israel’s most recent major military offensive, “Protective Edge,” would seem to have violated elementary human rights. […]

Coogan was also critical of the expanded access to weapons stockpiles that the bill would afford Israel. He said, “it’s morally, financially, and legally problematic to continue to give Israel access to the weapons stockpiles, particularly in light of how they used them in their war on Gaza this summer.”

“It looked like, for a time, the Obama admin actually suspended a shipment of weapons to Israel – specifically, hellfire missiles – but then apparently started to resend those. But the thought behind the original suspension was that Israel was using it in violation of international law and US law.”

“I think it was shown by numerous human rights organizations that Israel was using ammunition stored in those forward-deployed stockpiles in clear violation of US and int’l law. So it’s a mystery to us why a country of laws – purportedly – would continue to give Israel access to weapons that it uses in flagrant violations of those laws.” … Full article

Ken Klippenstein can be reached on Twitter @kenklippenstein or via email: ken@readersupportednews.org

Paul Gottinger can be reached on Twitter @paulgottinger or via email: paul.gottinger@gmail.com

December 21, 2014 - Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , ,

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