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Obama Tries to End Israel’s Temper Tantrum Over Iran Deal By Offering Country More Weapons

President Barack Obama’s administration has offered to increase US military aid by nearly fifty percent in order to calm Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders, who are livid as a result of the Iran nuclear deal.

“The fact that Netanyahu’s temper tantrum about the Iran deal could go towards an increase in aid is disturbing, especially as we know that US aid is being used to kill civilians in Gaza and the West Bank,” Naomi Dann, media coordinator for Jewish Voice for Peace, told Common Dreams.

Discussions around what the US could give to Israel to help it tolerate the Iran deal have been ongoing for months. Israel has apparently requested “between $4.2 billion and $4.5 billion a year for the next 10 years,” which is an increase from around $3 billion a year, according to The New York Times.

Israel uses the billions to purchase US military hardware, including jets and missile defense equipment. It helps fund the country’s “Iron Dome” project.

As Rania Khalek described, a potential package could involve the purchase of “3,000 Hellfire missiles, 12,000 general purpose bombs, and 750 bunker buster bombs that can penetrate up to 20 feet, or six meters, of reinforced concrete.”

The bombs are exactly the weapons Israel uses when attacking Gaza and deliberately targets civilians, including children.

Netanyahu claimed in an interview with Steve Forbes, “I think if the deal goes through we’re in danger of war, and it might be the worst kind of war we can imagine. Because this deal will open the way for Iran not to get a bomb but many bombs. Within a decade it will be free to enrich uranium on an unlimited basis. And it will be able to make the fissile cord for dozens of bombs–indeed, hundreds of bombs–which it can then put on the hundreds of ICBMs it already has.”

“Under this deal Iran is going to get $100 billion to $300 billion, which it will be able to use to fund its terrorism and its aggression in the region–its aim being to destroy Israel,” Netanyahu added. “Given Iran’s history of aggression, I’d say that this double bonanza of a guaranteed pathway to a nuclear arsenal and a jackpot of money to continue its aggression actually makes the danger of war, even nuclear war, a lot greater.”

Netanyahu’s doomsday scenario stems from opposition to the fact that Iran will be allowed to continue to have peaceful nuclear program and sanctions against the country will be lifted for complying with a rather intrusive inspection regime.

Obama explained in an interview with Times columnist Thomas Friedman why requiring Iran to have zero nuclear capacity was a non-starter.

“What that involves is eliminating the presence of knowledge inside of Iran. Nuclear technology is not that complicated today, and so the notion that the yardstick for success was now whether they ever had the capacity possibly to obtain nuclear weapons — that can’t be the yardstick,” Obama stated. “The question is, do we have the kind of inspection regime and safeguards and international consensus whereby it’s not worth it for them to do it? We have accomplished that.”

Another factor that influenced the outcome of the deal is that sanctions against Iran were no longer sustainable. “China, Japan, South Korea, India — pretty much any oil importer around the world that had previously import arrangements from Iran — found themselves in a situation where this was costing them billions of dollars to sustain these sanctions,” Obama added.

Now, because logic and reason is not something the racist apartheid state of Israel is receptive to hearing, Obama goes above and beyond to make overtures to the country’s leaders.

Obama also makes statements to the world to justify Israel’s tantrum, even though it truly is ludicrous given all the weapons Israel happens to have to defend itself.

…I think it’s fair to say that under my administration, we’ve done more to facilitate Israeli capabilities. And I’ve also said that I’m prepared to go further than any other administration’s gone before in terms of providing them additional security assurances from the United States. The thing I want to emphasize is that people’s concerns here are legitimate. Hezbollah has tens of thousands of missiles that are pointed toward Israel. They are becoming more sophisticated. The interdiction of those weapon flows has not been as successful as it needs to be. There are legitimate concerns on the part of the Gulf countries about Iran trying to stir up and prompt destabilizing events inside their countries. So they’re not just being paranoid. Iran is acting in an unconstructive way, in a dangerous way in these circumstances. What I’ve simply said is that we have to keep our eye on the ball here, which is that Iran with a nuclear weapon will do more damage, and we will be in a much worse position to prevent it…

Except, Israel is not simply worried that Iran will endanger the country’s security. What it fears is that the deal will contribute and eventually solidify Iran’s position as a hegemonic power in the Middle East.

Haaretz reported senior Israeli defense officials are more concerned with what this will do for Iran’s “standing” in the region than how it may influence Iran’s “nuclear plans.”

Iran will be able to relatively easily and quickly free itself from the international isolation that has been imposed on it over its protracted refusal to curb its nuclear program, a senior defense source told Haaretz. Companies from Europe and elsewhere are already “standing in line” waiting to renew their commercial ties with Iran, the source said, and the Iranian economy is expected to receive a boost of tens of billions of dollars within a relatively short time.

Israeli leaders see an effort to derail the Iran deal by meddling in the US Congress as having the potential to, at minimum, stop sanctions from being lifted. They would prefer not to finalize any increase in financial and/or military aid until Congress has approved the deal.

As the unnamed Israeli defense official who spoke to Haaretz wryly stated, “The Americans understand that in light of the agreement and also the fact that the agreement is so good that the Arab countries need to be armed, all of this requires a response to maintain our qualitative edge. Everyone is aware of this. We have decided that the issue isn’t to be discussed until the picture regarding the agreement becomes clear, whether it is approved or not. Then we will enter down-to-earth discussions over compensation for the State of Israel in light of the change in the security situation in the region.”

Regardless of what happens, Palestinians will be the losers, as the US will ship just about any amount of US weapons to Israel. Those bombs will inevitably be used in the next war Israel launches to assert military occupation.

Image is from Secretary of Defense and as government work is in the public domain

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."