Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Facts on the Obama Administration’s Actions to Secure Israel

Since taking office in January 2009, the Obama Administration has taken a number of steps dedicated to enhancing Israel’s security. Below are some facts, figures, and statements about President Barack Obama’s commitment to Israel’s security.

Summary of Major Actions:  

  • President Obama requested and received $2.8 billion for directly assisting Israel’s security. This is the largest amount given to Israel in U.S. history specifically allocated for Israel’s security apparatus.

  • The Obama Administration has led the global effort to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. Steps taken include:
Building international consensus against Iran’s nuclear program
Imposing new U.S. sanctions on Iran and those who conduct business with Iran Imposing new sanctions against Iran’s banking sector because of its links to international terrorism

  • President Obama authorized Israeli use of American military equipment stockpiles in Israel during emergencies. Additionally, the Obama Administration has increased the amount of cooperation between American and Israeli military forces in joint military exercises, specifically Operation Juniper Cobra.

  • President Obama requested and received $205 million for the Iron Dome Missile Shield which protects Israel’s southern and northern towns from Hamas and Hezbollah rockets. According to recent news reports, the Iron Dome Missile Shield is proving successful during field tests.

  • High-level military and intelligence personnel including Defense Secretary Robert Gates, CIA Director Leon Panetta, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen have all traveled to Israel in 2010 to discuss security cooperation vis-à-vis Iran and other situations in the Middle East.

  • President Obama has also publicly pledged to maintain the “Ambiguity Policy” towards Israel’s supposed nuclear weapons program. President Obama has also publicly stated that Israel’s “unique security requirements” prevent it from signing the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. 

Andrew Shapiro, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, outlined many of the Obama Administration’s achievements during a presentation at the Brookings Saban Center for Middle East Policy in Washington, DC on July 16. The video and transcript are available here.

Recent Statements by American Leaders Regarding Support for Israel’s Security: 

“... My administration has provided more security assistance to Israel than any administration in history.  And we’ve got greater security cooperation between our two countries than at any time in our history.  And the single most important threat to Israel—Iran, and its potential possession of a nuclear weapon—has been my number one foreign policy priority over the course of the last 18 months.”

“Given the shared challenges we face, the relationship between the United States and Israel has never been more important. The United States has long recognized that a strong and secure Israel is vital to our own strategic interests. And we know that the forces that threaten Israel also threaten the United States of America. And therefore, we firmly believe that when we strengthen Israel’s security, we strengthen America’s security.”
“... For President Obama and for me, and for this entire Administration, our commitment to Israel’s security and Israel’s future is rock solid, unwavering, enduring, and forever.”

“While we may be living in times of uncertainty and great change, it’s worth again affirming an essential truth that will never change: that is the United States of America remains fully and firmly committed to the peace and security of the State of Israel. That commitment spans generations and political parties. It is not negotiable, and it never will be.”
“...We will continue to strengthen Israel’s qualitative military advantage so that Israel can always defend itself, by itself, against any threat or possible combination of threats.”

“Since day one, President Obama and Secretary Clinton have not only honored and re-energized America’s enduring commitment to Israel’s security, but have taken action to expand it to an unprecedented level.” 
“The Obama Administration is proud to carry on the legacy of robust U.S. security assistance for Israel. Indeed, we are carrying this legacy to new heights at a time when Israel needs our support to address the multifaceted threats it faces.”
“We will also continue to support our words with concrete actions. The U.S.-Israel security relationship is too important to be anything less than a top priority. As surely as the bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable, our commitment to Israel’s qualitative military edge has never been greater. And I can assure you that under the leadership of President Obama and Secretary Clinton, our relationship will always receive the time, attention and focus that it deserves.”

Recent Statements by Israeli Leaders Regarding President Obama’s Support for Israel:

“I trust Barack Obama, President of the United States to carry out with me the policies that have joined Israel and the United States. And what Barack Obama has called the ‘unbreakable bond.’ We have common goals, common interests. And we now have a job to do to get on with our common goal of achieving peace with security. I trust we’ll be able to do that together.”

“... [There have been] major efforts undertaken to demonstrate the unbreakable security bonds between Israel and the United States. The Obama administration, for example, allocated $205 million to the Iron Dome program that is vital to protecting Israel from Hamas and Hezbollah rockets, as well as far-reaching support for other systems - Arrow III, Arrow II and David’s Sling - designed to intercept longer range missiles from Iran. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security Advisor General Jim Jones delivered widely publicized speeches reiterating the administration’s dedication to Israel’s well-being. And President Obama, in a letter to Alan Solow, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, pledged, ‘our commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable and that no wedge will be driven between us.’”

“The United States is strategically committed to Israel’s security, in terms of the international community’s demands on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty ... President Obama made this clear in his own voice in his recent meeting with the prime minister, and the American administration made it clear in writing in the past few weeks. This is our insurance policy. ...  The written statements of the United States, which arrived several weeks before the [Netanyahu’s] Washington visit, said that Israel defined its own security needs. This is a meaningful statement by the White House. The US is in fact saying that it is attentive and understands Israel’s security needs.”

“The special relationship between Israel and the United States is unbreakable, built on mutual respect and shared values.  This bond is most poignantly manifested by the unmatched support and cooperation that the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) and the Israeli minister of defense share with the United States military and the Department of Defense. ... And we are glad and proud to be supported by the American defense establishment and the American administration. ... I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Congress and the president, President Obama, for American support for the security of the State of Israel.”