If approved, the sale of the precision-guided ordnance would be the first arms deal between the United States and Israel since last year’s incursion into Lebanon. On the other hand, if approved this will not reflect well on US image in Lebanon , since the Lebanese are still suffering from the memories of the last war.
Israel planned to propose buying the U.S. F-22 Raptor — a cutting-edge air-dominance fighter currently being deployed with the U.S. Air Force and banned from being exported
A Pentagon spokesman told the newspaper a strong Israel was in the best interest of the United States, since it added stability to the region.
Many reports circulated from Israel talking about another war this summer with Lebanon’s Hezbollah to make up for the defeat during the last summer war. During the 33 day conflict, more than 1,200 Lebanese civilians were killed, and over one million displaced. Moreover, Lebanon was left in ruins …its infrastructure was leveled and over 100, 000 homes destroyed.
Israeli opposition is stalling U.S. plans to sell advanced weaponry, including the same type of bombs Israel is seeking, to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies.
Israel is particularly concerned that the advanced weapons could erode its military superiority in the region.
During his recent visit to Israel, the U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates sought to allay Israeli concerns over the weapons sale to Gulf states, assuring Washington’s closest ally that the arms transfer wouldn’t threaten Israel’s military superiority and that the sale is needed to curb Iran’s influence in the region.
It isn’t clear whether Israel’s purchase of the American smart bombs was connected to the U.S.-Saudi arms sale. But administration officials told the New York Times earlier this month that they’re discussing a separate arms package for Israel to ease its concerns over the Saudi deal. “It’s not like the Israelis are going to end up with nothing,” a senior administration official was quoted as saying.
Human rights groups say Israeli forces dropped over a million cluster bomblets in populated areas in southern Lebanon, 90% of which were fired in the last three days of fighting.