In a surprising yet strategic move, President Joe Biden, after approving a considerable arms supply to Israel, has given the nod for a $100 million aid package for Gaza and West Bank. Isn’t this a curious twist in the tale of the U.S. Middle East policy?
The Biden administration’s decision follows months of detailed reviews and negotiations. After the recent Israel-Hamas conflict, the aid is seen as a much-needed measure aimed at helping the Palestinian territories recover and rebuild. However, many are questioning the political and moral implications of this decision. Are we witnessing a complex push-and-pull strategy in action?
“The Biden administration believes that facilitating progress towards peace can only be done by offering support to both sides. This move, though surprising, aligns with the administration’s commitment to fostering peace and stability in the region,”
A breakdown of the aid package reveals the following:
- $75 million for economic and development assistance in the West Bank and Gaza.
- Around $10 million dedicated to peacebuilding initiatives through the U.S. Agency for International Development.
- Approximately $15 million specifically for humanitarian efforts directly through USAID.
The question, therefore, remains – what will be the long-term impact of this apparent double-play? Can these two policies coexist, and if so, how will they shape U.S. relations with Israel and Palestine?
What types of weapons did the US supply to Israel?
In an attempt to clarify the nature of US-Israeli military cooperation, it’s essential to briefly delineate the types of weapons supplied to Israel. Multiple sources confirm that the US military aid to Israel is both extensive and diverse, ranging from high-tech defense systems to cutting-edge fighter jets.
Iron Dome Defense System
One of the most notable examples is the Iron Dome Defense System. Renowned for its efficiency in intercepting short-range rockets and artillery shells, the Iron Dome plays a pivotal role in Israel’s defensive strategy. Equipped with advanced radar and missile systems, it can detect incoming threats and neutralize them in a matter of seconds.
F-35 Stealth Fighter Jets
Additionally, the American F-35 stealth fighter jets, dubbed the most technologically advanced aircraft in the world, are another major component of the US supply. These state-of-the-art machines augment Israel’s air superiority, skillfully blending speed, agility, and precision. The ability to penetrate enemy radar undetected adds a stealthy edge to their defense portfolio.
The US also supplies Israel with precision-guided munitions, potent tools in combating its adversaries. These missiles, lauded for unprecedented accuracy, can hit targeted locations with exceptional precision while reducing civilian casualties. The contribution of such weaponry to Israel’s military might is significant.
Beyond these, reports indicate a series of other sophisticated gadgets and systems filled in the gamut of US supplied weaponry. Enhanced missile systems, cutting-edge radar technology, versatile armored vehicles, and top-class helicopters constitute the larger spectrum of this assistance.
In light of this substantial arsenal, is the US offering this paradigm of aid uniquely to Israel? And if not, how do its relations with Palestine, specifically those within Gaza and the West Bank, fit into this intricate narrative?
What is the significance of the $100m aid to Gaza and West Bank?
Iron Dome Defense System
In April 2021, the Biden administration approved a request from Israel for $735 million in precision-guided weapons. Notably among these weapons was the Iron Dome Defense System. Fundamentally developed in Israel, this system is specifically designed to intercept and neutralize short-range rockets and artillery shells fired from distances of 4 kilometers (2.5 mi) to 70 kilometers (43 mi) away.
F-35 Stealth Fighter Jets
Another significant part of the defense package to Israel encompassed F-35 stealth fighter jets. Unquestionably one of the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world, the F-35 poses a substantial upgrade to Israel’s air force. In a region fraught with tension and conflict, the addition of these high-tech jets strengthens Israel’s defense capabilities.
Precision-guided munitions, considered the linchpin of this supply to Israel, also play a crucial role. These what-you-see-is-what-you-hit weapons significantly reduce the risk of collateral damage by directing the strike to the target with great accuracy. How much more nuanced can warfare become?
Beyond the Iron Dome Defense System, F-35 stealth fighter jets, and precision-guided munitions, there were other less-specified forms of aid provided to Israel. Without disclosing specifics, the US is known for supporting Israel with advanced military technologies and various defense systems. It makes you wonder, doesn’t it? What lengths are governments willing to go to protect their allies?
Despite these considerable arms sales, President Biden has demonstrated concern for the Palestinian territories too. It would be a grave mistake to think Biden’s strategy as solely pro-Israel. After all, the administration has authorized an additional $100m in aid to Gaza and the West Bank. In the close mesh of international politics, it seems Biden is making a concerted effort to maintain balance. But will it be enough?