SAUDI ARMS AND ISRAELI AID: BUSH'S 'PACKAGE DEAL' ...

The Bush Administration's decision to grant Israel a military aid package totaling $30 billion over the next few years, should be viewed as part of the traditional American commitment to Israel's security but also as a means to diffuse the objections by many members of Congress to the massive arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

According to reports, the deal will comprise satellite guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM), upgrading of war planes and new warships.

Using Israel as "joker" in the Administration's Mideast card game, or in other words a "package deal" combining the arms deal to Saudi Arabia and the defense grant to Israel, doesn't work in our favor - neither from the standpoint of Congress and American public opinion nor from the standpoint of maintaining our advantage vis-à-vis the Arab world, particularly as on this "happy occasion" Egypt is also set to receive military aid totaling $13 billion. Arms to Egypt will include among other things, AIM-9X missiles which may be detrimental to Israel's relative advantage against it.

The grant Washington announced last week is in fact the continuation of the military aid Israel has been receiving for the past 10 years according to the formula agreed upon during Netanyahu's government, and in which in face of a gradual decrease of unpopular civilian aid, military aid would be increased, which is far more acceptable. The fact that the Administration is about to continue granting Israel defense aid more or less according to the previous level was known even prior to the prime minister's recent visit to Washington, yet the fact that the US has once against taken upon itself a perennial commitment is a most welcome development.

The grant to Israel has been bundled with the arms deal to Saudi Arabia in order to neutralize the growing discontent prevalent in Congress and among American public opinion to the fact that much of the Sunni terror in Iraq and Islamic terror in general can be traced to Saudi Arabia.

The US Administration has also found itself in a very uncomfortable situation regarding the US's traditional ties with Saudi Arabia. Washington has still not forgotten King Abdullah's statement "that the occupation in Iraq is illegal," just as the Mecca agreement between Fatah and Hamas, presided over by the Saudis, continues to spark the Administration's ire.

There is also no indication that Saudi Arabia is willing to comply with Washington's pleas to recognize Israel. On the contrary, Amr Moussa the Secretary-General of the League of Arab Nations unequivocally clarified that the foreign ministers of Egypt and Jordan who recently visited Israel did not do so on behalf of the Arab League (that is including Saudi Arabia), as presented by various Israeli spokespersons and commentators, but rather on behalf of their own countries only.

Last week's visit to Riyadh by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates was aimed therefore at smoothing things over. It was an attempt to bridge between the US's and the Saudi petrol kingdom's often opposing interests and tendencies. One of the elements of the American strategy to appease the Saudis is the arms acquisition package which is being officially presented as a means to counter the Iranian threat, the second element is the American plan to convene an international conference on the Palestinian question in the autumn. One of the conference's objectives is to coerce Israel to accept the "Arab peace plan," initiated by Saudi king Abdullah, as a prerequisite for renewing the peace process.

A hint of this intention can be found in Rice's statement in which she "advised" Israel as to what its diplomatic priorities should be.

Zalman Shoval is a former ambassador to the US.

Originally from www.watchingAmerica.com on August 7, 2007, 6:54pm

Donate


The following should appear at the end of every post:

According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":

Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.

Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.

Political Campaign Intervention

Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.

Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.

Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:

  • Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
  • Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
  • Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
  • Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
  • Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office

Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:

  • The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
  • Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
  • We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
  • When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
  • It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
  • We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
  • We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
  • When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
  • We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
  • It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.

And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)

  • Subscribe


  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
    This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.