Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

The Israelization of American Policy Is No Paranoid Fantasy

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

The Israelization of American Policy Is No Paranoid Fantasy

Article excerpt

The Israelization of American Policy Is No Paranoid Fantasy

Is the Israelization of American foreign policy in the Middle East continuing? Does Israel come first, last and always in the hearts of American policy-makers? Judging by recent appointments of at least two Israeli dual citizens to key posts in the administration, one would have to say yes. Yet there must be a few honest people left on the Middle East policy-making side, judging by the fact that the U.S. deducted $437 million from Israel's $2 billion in annual loan guarantees scheduled for the 1994 fiscal year.

But wait, even the deduction was reversed by a presidential promise that Israel would receive an unstated amount ($250 million was suggested) to aid "redeployment." The money was to be additional loan guarantees, though the choice is still not certain since Congress required the earlier loans not be spent in the occupied territories, beyond the Green Line of 1967. Deducting with one hand and then offering with the other additional untied aid that Israel would be free to use to harden the settlements leaves grave doubts about the balance of this administration's Middle East policies.

Denying U.S. Access to Dotan?

For example, there is the matter of U.S. laws specifying non-renewal of military aid agreements with countries which deny American investigators access to local officials involved in corrupt practices in the use of American aid. For reasons of its own, Israel refuses to make General Rami Dotan, former head of Israeli air force procurement, available in his Israeli jail to U.S. investigators trying to trace some $70 million in skimmed-off funds. For three weeks last fall, lower-ranking U.S. officials held up signing the fiscal year 1994 military aid agreement with Israel. Then the White House intervened and it was signed, in defiance of the law and against the advice of congressional staffers.

Israel appears to have a one-way strategic relationship with the United States: No American official can expect to survive in his job if he applies the same rules to Israel as to other countries. If application of U.S. law harms Israeli interests, as defined by the Israeli government, time and time again U.S. officials have been forced to back down. This has little to do with pressures from members of Congress, and much more to do with pressures from the White House, where the key Israel-oriented policy-makers now are situated.

An example is the so-called "Lantern" investigation of the application of U.S. laws regarding the re-transferring of technologies from Israel to other countries, particularly South Africa, China and quite possibly Iran. "Lantern" was the code name for the 1991-92 investigation of the political-military affairs office in the Department of State and the failure of the official in charge there to pursue clear evidence of Israeli transfer of missile and other technology obtained originally from the United States to other countries without U.S. permission. One State Department official was moved, none were fired, and the whole matter was hushed up.

Taiwan: Another Israel? No!

Would the same thing have happened if Taiwan, for example, had been caught passing on U.S. secrets to South Africa, Iran or Syria? Or even to friendly countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt or Tunisia? There would have been hell to pay, yet Taiwan supposedly has many of the same U.S. protections as does Israel. If we are to avoid further disasters for U.S. policy in the Middle East, the strategic relationship with Israel must be reined in and brought under some common-sense control.

It is out of control not just because of members of Congress who are fearful for their continuation in office. Career civil servants and military and foreign service officers charged with protecting U.S. technology and intelligence information are afraid that if they do not make an exception for Israel when they do their jobs, they will lose them. …

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