teleSUR, 9 August 2014 **** Front Page

Collaborating with Israel

By Bruno Jäntti

What is often conveniently left out from the conventional Western narrative on the slaughter in Gaza is that both the US and the EU are cooperating and collaborating deeply with Israel's military-industrial complex.

Israel has destroyed the Gaza Strip once more.

At the time of writing this article, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reports that 1,976 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli onslaught. 

The PCHR puts the figure of civilian deaths to 1,643. The number of Palestinian children killed by the Israeli military is 463. 

Altogether 7,920 Palestinians have been wounded. 

A number of EU member states have condemned the havoc wreaked by Israel in Gaza. The US, on the other hand, has expressed outright support for Israel's actions. 

Rhetoric aside, what is often conveniently left out from the conventional Western narrative on the slaughter is that both the US and the EU are cooperating and collaborating deeply with Israel's military-industrial complex. 

The US-Israel special relationship 

Foreign aid is a vital instrument of US foreign policy. For the past half a century, a number of countries have been in a category of their own in terms of the billions or tens of billions of dollars they have received from the US. These countries include e.g. Colombia, Egypt and Turkey - states whose human rights track record is somewhat short of stellar. 

Even among these US foreign aid recipients, Israel is above all others. Israel has received more foreign aid than any other country in world history: the US foreign aid regime has transferred over 124 billion US dollars to Israel. 

Whereas the US often prefers to allocate its bilateral aid in installments, Israel receives the entire annual aid during the first 30 days of the fiscal year. The US also allows Israel to use more than 600 million dollars of the total aid in Israeli-produced or US-Israeli co-produced military hardware.

The US foreign aid regime alone has integrated the two countries in a way which is quantitatively and qualitatively different than Israel's bilateral relationship with any other state. 

US veto as a diplomatic weapon 

US diplomatic support for Israeli expansionism, apartheid and occupation in the Palestinian Territories (OPT) has been no less crucial for Israel than the military aid. 

What is the content of the resolutions vetoed by the US in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)? To get an idea, consider these three resolutions that were proposed in the UNSC in the 1980's: 

Urging Israel to Abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention (April 15, 1988)

Calling on Israel to Accept Applicability of 4th Geneva Convention (February 1, 1988)

Denouncing Israeli Contravention of Fourth Geneva Convention (April 2, 1982) 

The US used its veto power to reject all of them. Indeed, the US has vetoed dozens of UNSC resolutions targeting Israel. 

Besides unparalleled economic and diplomatic support, the military forces, military industries and intelligence agencies of the two countries are involved in close cooperation. Israel and the US are committed to numerous joint-training programs, including joint police and homeland security training, joint naval training, joint air force training, joint infantry training and joint air defence and artillery training. 

The intelligence organs of the two states are likewise engaging in comprehensive cooperation and information sharing.The cumulative effect of two events in particular - the overthrow of the Shah in Iran in 1979 and the bombing of the US embassy in Beirut in 1983 - delivered a heavy blow to CIA's operational capacity in the Middle East. Given the hardship the CIA was faced with in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Israeli Intelligence Community,  especially the Mossad, ended up being a valuable local source for intelligence data and analysis for Washington. 

For years, the countries have been undertaking joint development programs in military production and have procured a multitude of each other's military products. 

One could argue that Israel is almost as integrated into the political system of the US as states like Hawaii or Iowa. 

The EU and Israel 

Through its relationship with Israel, the EU is breaching a number of its own provisions. Let us take a look at some of the preambular paragraphs, criteria and articles of the EU-Israel Association Agreement and the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports. 

One of the preambular paragraphs of the EU-Israel Association Agreement asserts that 

CONSIDERING the importance which the Parties attach to the principle of economic freedom and to the principles of the United Nations Charter, particularly the observance of human rights and democracy, which form the very basis of the Association 

Furthermore, article 2 of the Association Agreement emphasizes that 

Relations between the Parties, as well as all the provisions of the Agreement itself, shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which guides their internal and international policy and constitutes an essential element of this Agreement 

Another agreement violated by the EU is the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports. In particular, see the following criterion: 

CRITERION TWO

The respect of human rights in the country of final destination

Having assessed the recipient country's attitude towards relevant principles established by

international human rights instruments, Member States will: 

Israel does not, by any stretch of imagination, qualify as a valid export destination for EU military equipment under this criterion. Nonetheless, the EU has exported arms and military technology to Israel for billions of euros since the beginning of the Second Intifada. 

The EU has does not lack states violating arms exports regulations. Italy, arguably, has the most abominable  track record . Italy's major weapons manufacturer, Finmeccanica, announced in July 2012, that it had won and signed a $1 billion deal with Israel. Finmeccanica is providing training jets to the Israeli air force. Of the three branches of the Israeli military, the air force is responsible for some of the most brazen attacks against Palestinian and Lebanese civilians and civilian infrastructure. 

Out of the total €752 million deal, the most sizable part belongs to Finmeccanica's subsidiary Alenia Aermacchi which provides 30 M-346 advanced trainer aircraft to the Israeli air force. Financial Times has reported that the Italian government played a major role in brokering the contract. 

The UK, France and Germany have been exceptionally committed violators of the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports with their constant exports deals to Israel. Let us look at Germany and France in detail. 

Germany has sold conventional weaponry to Israel for more than €580 million  between 1996 and 2000. These exports included Dolphin Class Submarines that are capable of launching nuclear warheads. In 2000 alone, German weapons trade with Israel was worth more than €130 million. Germany exported torpedoes, armored cars, and parts for the Israeli Merkava tanks used in occupied Palestine.

Between 2003 and 2008, France exported  weaponry to Israel for more than €521 million .

An Amnesty International report from February 2009 revealed that electrical components manufactured in France were found in the rubble of buildings in Gaza destroyed by Israel during the 2008-2009 Gaza massacre.

The components were installed in Hellfire AGM missiles manufactured by the US company Hellfire Systems, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. France also  exported specialized laser systems to be used for reconnaissance operations.

Besides all of the exports, the EU purchased Israeli weaponry and homeland security systems for billions of euros only during the Second Intifada, that is between 2000 and 2005. The EU is among the world's most significant and reliable clients of the Israeli weapons industry.

As demonstrated above, the Israeli endeavor of dispossessing the Palestinian people has vital international backing. Tactically, this presents opportunities. If, say, the EU can be compelled to adhere to its own provisions and take into account the long overdue, yet growing discontent among the general public in the EU against Israeli actions, the trajectory of the Israel-Palestine conflict might be quickly altered.

 

The archive: Bruno Jäntti, Middle East, Ramzy Baroud, Robert Fisk, Moshé Machover, Noam Chomsky, Patrick Cockbur, Phyllis Bennisn

 

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