Sunday July 29, 2007 19:27


After Israeli officials expressed concerns over a $20 billion military aid package from the U.S. to Saudi Arabia, the U.S. administration promised a $30 billion package of weapons to Israel, stating that Israel is still the top priority for the U.S. in the Middle East.

U.S.-made fighter jet (courtesy of Agence France Presse)

The $30 billion aid package will be disbursed over a period of ten years, providing $3 billion worth of weaponry to the Israeli military. This is in addition to the $6 billion a year in direct aid given to Israel by the United States each year, and an additional $4 billion in loan guarantees and indirect aid.

U.S. aid to Israel, which consists almost exclusively of military aid, far surpasses aid given by the U.S. government to any other state on earth. According to analyst Steven Zunes, U.S. government officials argue that this money is necessary for "moral" reasons-some even say that Israel is a 'democracy battling for its very survival.' If that were the real reason, however, aid should have been highest during Israel's early years, and would have declined as Israel grew stronger. Yet "the pattern
o has been just the opposite." According to Zunes, "99 percent of all U.S. aid to Israel took place after the June 1967 war, when Israel found itself more powerful than any combination of Arab armies."

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stated today, "We have renewed agreements and a renewed commitment from the Americans that would help preserve our advantage over the Arab countries."

He added that Israel fully understood the U.S. government's desire to support so-called "moderate" states in the region. Saudi Arabia is considered a "moderate" state, despite the fact that the monarchy, controlled by the Saud family, has been documented to engage in multiple human rights abuses against its population, and to preserve the wealth gained by its massive oil reserves for a very small percentage of its population. The majority of people in Saudi Arabia live in poverty, while the royal class thrive in excessive wealth.

The arming of Saudi Arabia by the U.S. is apparently meant to counter the power of Iran in the region.