In what has been described as an “unprecedented gift of executive power to Israel,” the US Congress has passed for the very first time a law that forces the American president to give Israel a minimum of $3.8 billion per year—without limitation and no matter what Israel does.
Passed by the House of Representatives on September 12, 2018, the “United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018” rolls back any limitations that the US places on the amount of “aid” American taxpayers must hand over to Israel.
The bill states in “Sec. 102. Statement of Policy) that it “shall be the policy of the United States to provide assistance to the Government of Israel in order to support funding for cooperative programs to develop, produce, and procure missile, rocket, projectile, and other defense capabilities to help Israel meet its security needs and to help develop and enhance United States defense capabilities.”
According to a review of the law published by the If Americans Knew group, the AIPAC-lobbied law, introduced by Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida), whose maternal grandparents were Sephardic Jews, originally from the Ottoman Empire, who had been active in Cuba’s Jewish community, and Ted Deutch (D-Florida), whose grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Belarus, the bill is “even more generous to Israel than the Senate bill and the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding and “amounts to $7,230 per minute to Israel, or $120 per second.”
The If Americans Knew review adds that the bill “guarantees $38 billion to Israel over the next ten years” and “is a dramatic departure from the deal offered under President Obama’s 2016 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
“Most dramatically, this new act would eviscerate the ability of President Trump and his successors for the next ten years to withhold United States aid to Israel,” the review continued.
“Historically, almost every president since Eisenhower has attempted to withhold such aid at one time or another in order to force Israel to the peace table or to stop Israel from committing human right abuses or illegal acts such as taking Palestinian land and giving it to Israeli settlers.
“President Eisenhower was the last American President who managed to use this threat effectively, when he forced Israel to withdraw from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in 1957.”
The review added that the “second most important effect of this act is in Section 103. While the MOU limits the amount of aid [the US] give[s] Israel to the amount agreed upon, in this case $38 billion over 10 years, Section 103 of the current bill removes all limitations on how much [the US] give[s] give Israel.
“Under the new act, instead of 38 billion being the cap, as Obama stipulated in his 2016 MOU, [the US] must now give Israel a minimum of $3.8 billion per year until 2028.
“Without a cap, and with incessant lobbying by Israel and her proxies in the United States, the amount we give could conceivably double over the next 10 years,” the review said.
“Section 106 will increase Israel’s access to a war-reserve stockpile by completely removing the limits on how many precision guided missiles [the US] can give Israel. The existing law set a maximum of $200 million worth of arms from the stockpile per year, to be charged against the agreed aid package.
“The House version of the bill differs from the Senate version, replacing the words ‘sell’ and ‘sale’ to ‘transfer,’ which appears to open the door for more gifts in excess of the $38 billion.
“To put this in context, a Tomahawk Missile currently costs about $1 million. The media recently lambasted President Trump for using 60 such missiles in Syria because of the high cost.
“Section 107 calls on the President to prescribe procedures for the rapid acquisition and deployment of precision guided munitions. The House text differs from the Senate version in that it removes all the detailed requirements for Israel to have such rapid acquisition.
“In the version just passed by the House, there is only one, extremely broad requirement, that Israel is under direct threat of missiles (in Israel’s opinion).
“Section 108 of the Act authorizes Israel to export arms it receives from the U.S., even though this violates U.S. law. The Senate version included a provision calling on the President to make an assessment of Israel’s eligibility before adding Israel to the exemption list.
“The House version deleted that requirement, and simply orders the American President to grant Israel the privilege.
“In fact, Israel is ineligible, having repeatedly made unauthorized sales in violation of this Act. The Export Act further forbids granting such an exemption to any country that is in violation of International Nuclear Non-proliferation Agreement, which Israel has refused to sign.
“Israel is known to be in possession of nuclear weapons, and hence in violation and ineligible for the export exemption. Congress thus reiterates the message that it will force the President to continue funding Israel even when that violates [U.S.] laws,” the review continued.
“Section 201 orders NASA to work with the Israel Space Agency, even though an Israeli space official has been accused of illegally obtaining classified scientific technology from a NASA research project.
“U.S. agencies periodically name Israel as a top espionage threat against the United States.
“The section also states that United States Agency for International Development (USAID) must partner with Israel in ‘a wide variety of sectors, including energy, agriculture and food security, democracy, human rights and governance, economic growth and trade, education, environment, global health, and water and sanitation.’
“All countries except Israel are required to spend US military aid on American goods. This ensures that the American economy benefits to some degree from these massive gifts. (Of course, if Americans wished to subsidize these U.S. companies, money could be provided directly to them, and Israel and other countries left to buy their equipment with their own money.)
“In the past, Israel has spent 40 percent of U.S. aid on Israeli companies, at the expense of U.S. industry. Under Obama’s 2016 MOU, this percentage was to be decreased over the 10-year span, and eventually Israel’s unique right not to spend use U.S. military aid to purchase items from American companies was to be ended.
“The new Act eliminates this requirement, putting Israeli economic interests before [America’s].
“An Israeli spokesperson crowed: ‘The landmark deal was reached despite budget cuts, including defense cuts, in the U.S.’
The bill now will go back to the Senate for approval, and then to Trump to be signed into U.S. law.