Monday, May 16, 2011

Israeli Security Delusion

Ever since its inception, the state of Israel has had to deal with security threats from hostile Arab neighbors as well as violent Palestinian factions. However, in recent years, the threat to Israel has drastically decreased and yet the Israeli government still plays the security threat card. This is quite ironic, seeing as how in today's world, Israel has no serious threats to its security and is able to defend itself.

Israel has stated multiple times in the past that other Middle Eastern nations want to attack it, but most recently the focus has been on Iran. Prime Minister Netanyahu has stated that Iran is "barreling toward developing a nuclear weapon, and openly declaring their desire to destroy Israel. In the face of these repeated pledges to remove the Jewish state from the earth."[1] However, this ignores the fact that Israel gets tremendous amounts of military aid from the United States. This year alone they are to get $2.85 billion and from 2013-2018, Israel is to receive $3.15 billion in American military aid annually. [2] The US government has said that America's commitment to Israel is "unshakable, and [the United States] should understand the consequences of threats to the Jewish state." [3] Going back to Iran, in April 2011 Common Dreams stated:

While the Israeli government constantly sounds alarms about imagined Iranian nuclear weapons - though its intelligence services now suggest Iran won't have even one before 2015 at the earliest -- Israel remains the region's only nuclear power for the foreseeable future.  It possesses up to 200 nukes, in addition to "a significant number" of precision-guided 1,000 kg conventional bombs. [4] (emphasis added)

While 2015 is only a mere four years away, in late 2010 the Ha'aretz newspaper stated that "Israel's multi-layered air defense network will be fully deployed by 2015, combining short-range rocket interceptors with kamikaze satellites that blow up ballistic missiles in space." [5] Thus even if Iran gets nuclear weapons, Israel will be able to sufficiently defend themselves.

A second argument that Israel consistently uses is that they are threatened by Hamas rockets. However this can no longer be used as Israel now has the Iron Dome which was proven successful on April 7th as it successfully knocked out "a Grad rocket fired towards the southern city from the Gaza Strip." [6] The Iron Dome can now defend Israel from Hamas rocket attacks.

Finally, a major reason why Israel has been able to defend itself is due to US military aid, as was touched on earlier. In a 2010 Congressional Research Service report on Israel, it read that for 2011

[the] Obama Administration requested $3 billion in FMF [Foreign Military Financing] to Israel. According to the State Department's FY2011 budget justification for Foreign Operations, "U.S. assistance will help ensure that Israel maintains its qualitative military edge over potential threats, and prevent a shift in the security balance of the region. U.S. assistance is also aimed at ensuring for Israel the security it requires to make concessions necessary for comprehensive regional peace." [7]

However, Israel needing US military aid is quite strange when one considers the fact that Israel is a regional military and economic superpower. In a 2010 article done by Moshe Feiglin, an Israeli politician, he stated that "Israel's physical might has never been greater. Economically and militarily, Israel is a regional superpower and even more." [8] This is made even truer when one looks at the statistics from the CIA Factbook. Currently Israel has a GDP per capita of $29,500 and an unemployment rate of 6.4% while major countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia have a GDP per capita rates of $11,200 and $24,200 and unemployment rates of 14.6% and 10.8%, respectively. Also, when one compares the military of Israeli to that of Iran and Saudi Arabia [9], Israel is overwhelmingly superior.

The Israeli government can no longer play the security threat card. No matter how one cuts it, at the end of the day, Israel is more than capable of defending itself and thus the Israeli government must put an end to its paranoid mindset that somehow the entire Arab world is out to get them.


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