07 September 2016
The United States and Israel are considered close allies. Israel is the strongest ally to America in the Middle East. With that, the U.S. has given Israel over $200 billion in aid over the past few decades. However, the aid is considered illegal under two long-standing American law. One is the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, and the other is the International Security and Arms Export Control Act of 1976(AECA). A new lawsuit, in fact, addresses this.
Part 1: Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, International Security and Arms Export Control Act of 1976 Key Provisions and aid to Israel.
The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 focuses more on humanitarian aid. Sections 101 and 102 of AECA state that nuclear nations who are non-signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty(NPT) aren’t allowed to receive American aid of any form. Currently, the US gives Israel approximately $3.1 billion in aid per year, which is almost exclusively military aid. That number is expected to increase. A new proposal by the U.S. would give Israel $40 billion in aid over a period of a decade. For those living in the United States who are reading this, Israel has the population and size roughly similar to New Jersey.
There has been speculation on whether or not Israel is in possession of nuclear weapons. It is now a widely known fact that Israel has nuclear weapons. The bill’s introducer, Stuart Symington, proposed an amendment that would bend the rule under certain circumstances. This amended the Foreign Assistance Act. New Observer Online and the lawsuit also addresses the Symington Amendment. It states that the U.S. could provide aid to violators of the law if within 30 days if he determines and certifies in writing to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate.
- The termination of such assistance would have a serious adverse effect on vital United States interest; and
- He has received reliable assurances that the country in question will not acquire or develop nuclear weapons or assist other nations in doing so.
Part 2: Israel’s Nuclear Program:
Around 1966, Israel began its nuclear program. Western powers including France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and of course the United States have helped them with jumpstarting it. It has also refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty(NPT), which all of the countries listed above were signatories to it. They are one of four nuclear-armed states not to sign the NPT, the other three being India, Pakistan, and North Korea. Much of this was kept secret until Mordechai Vanunu, a nuclear technician who worked at the Dimona Negev reactor, but was opposed to Israel’s nuclear policy, leaked details of Israel’s nuclear program to the British press in 1986. Vanunu was eventually kidnapped and spent 18 years in prison. F-16 warheads, and ballistic missiles and neutron bombs were in Israel’s stockpile according to Vanunu. These missiles are still being produced and are collectively known as “Jericho” missiles. The most recent are the Jericho III, an intercontinental ballistic missile(ICBM). The ICBM implies that it is a far-range missile which advances the Jericho I and Jericho II, which were short and medium-range missiles, respectively. Israel, as you know, most notably is occupying Palestine, and kills 80 percent civilians in bombing raids, such as a major one in Gaza. They have broke international laws several other times as well.
Part 3: The Lawsuit:
In early August, Grant Smith, the director of Institute for Research: Middle East Policy(IRMEP) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District court of D.C. stating that it violated the AECA of 1976. Several members of the cabinet, including Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew, Commerce Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker as well as President Barack Obama and CIA Director John Brennan have allegedly violated the Administrative Procedure Act(APA), and thus are being sued. In addition to the Symington amendment, the Glenn Amendment raises a concern. Then Senator John Glenn believed that the State of Israel was using weapons-grade uranium that was in possession of the United States government. IRMEP has created a briefing to dissect the key parts of the lawsuit.(Note: the video is long).
Part 4: What Will Happen?
Not much. Israel’s nuclear program doesn’t receive much attention, while the aid is just “standard” to shield itself from nations such as Iran. Additionally, the term “nuclear ambiguity” has been used by the United States concerning Israel’s nuclear program. Other programs such as North Korea’s and the potential of Iran’s see more coverage. This lawsuit hasn’t faced much press coverage, and the courts will likely see in the eye of the status quo.