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Why No F-15s for Israel?

Feb. 15 2016

Last fall, seeking to make good on a pledge of supplemental military aid from the U.S., Israel requested a new squadron of F-15s. The Pentagon reportedly has rejected the request, insisting that Israel spend the funds on the newer F-35s instead. While these are in many ways superior aircraft, Caroline Glick notes an important distinction: Israel expressly wished to install its own computer systems on the F-15s, but no such option is available for the F-35s, which depend entirely on a system ultimately controlled from the U.S. She writes:

By giving Israel no option other than purchasing more F-35s, which the Americans control—to the point of being able to ground—even after they are deployed by the Israel Air Force (IAF), and defensive systems jointly developed with the U.S. and built in the U.S., the Americans are hollowing out Israel’s ability to operate independently.

Clearly, by waiting for the next president to conclude Israel’s military-assistance package, Netanyahu is hoping that President Obama’s successor will give Israel a better deal. But the fact is that even if a pro-Israel president is elected, Israel cannot assume that American efforts to erode Israel’s strategic independence will end once Obama leaves office. . . .

This week India and Israel were poised to finalize a series of arms deals totaling $3 billion. The final package is set to be signed during India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel later this year. The deal includes various missile- and electronic-warfare systems. . . . Netanyahu should view India’s enthusiasm for Israeli systems as an opportunity to end the IAF’s utter dependence on . . . U.S. systems.

Read more at Caroline Glick

More about: Barack Obama, IDF, Israel & Zionism, Israel-India relations, U.S. military, US-Israel relations

The Palestinian National Movement Has Reached a Point of Crisis

With Hamas having failed to achieve anything through several weeks of demonstrations and violence, and Mahmoud Abbas reduced to giving rambling anti-Semitic speeches, Palestinian aspirations seem to have hit a brick wall. Elliott Abrams explains:

[Neither] Fatah [nor] Hamas offers Palestinians a practical program for national independence. . . . [The current situation] leaves Palestinians high and dry, with no way forward at all. Whatever the criticism of the “occupation,” Israelis will certainly not abandon the West Bank to chaos or to a possible Hamas takeover. Today the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state is simply too dangerous to Israel and to Jordan to be contemplated. . . . There are only two other options. The first is the “one-state solution,” meaning union with Israel; but that is a nonstarter that Israel will reject no matter who is its prime minister. The other option is some kind of eventual link to Jordan.

In polite diplomatic society, and in Palestinian public discourse, such a link cannot be mentioned. But younger people who visit there, Palestinians have explained to me, can see a society that is half-Palestinian and functions as an independent nation with a working system of law and order. Jordanians travel freely, rarely suffer from terrorism, and [can vote in regular] elections, even if power is ultimately concentrated in the royal palace. The kingdom has close relations with all the Sunni states and the West, and is at peace with Israel.

The fundamental question all this raises is what, in 2018, is the nature and objective of Palestinian nationalism. Is the goal sovereignty at all costs, no matter how long it takes and even if it is increasingly divorced from peace, prosperity, and personal freedom? Is “steadfastness” [in refusing to compromise with Israel] the greatest Palestinian virtue now and forever? These questions cannot be debated in either Gaza or the West Bank. But as Israel celebrates 70 years and the “occupation” is now more than a half-century old, how much longer can they be delayed? . . .

The catastrophic mishandling of Palestinian affairs by generations of leaders from Haj Amin al-Husseini (the pro-Nazi mufti of the British Mandate period) to Yasir Arafat and now to Mahmoud Abbas has been the true Palestinian Nakba.

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Jordan, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinians