Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias have signed a ‘search and rescue’ agreement which allows the two countries to enter each other’s air space in the event of a disaster. Of interest in this story is that Turkey recently revoked a similar agreement with Israel. That my friends is what the Arab Spring is doing for world peace. But the revocation is encouragement to Cyprus which has had reservations about a relationship with Israel due to their ties to Turkey. A bipartisan group of Senators today announced they will not consider any plan to contain a nuclear Iran.
With Iran announcing yesterday that they had enriched their first nuclear fuel rod and the centrifuge to enrich uranium, Netanyahu said the sanctions on Iran are not working. In Hot Rods from Hell, the Business Insider has a good look at the road we have run out of, while continuing to kick the can.
In the face of the jaw-dropping threats facing much of the world, Obama’s 2013 budget cut missile and anti-missile aid to Israel for the second year in a row, but if history is an indicator, Congress will raise it before it’s time to cut the check.
Aid to Palestine, despite the union of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, a U.S. designated terrorist organization, remains about the same funding as last year. Egypt too continues to fund terror with U.S. dollars, with no cuts in 2013.
Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides:
“We’re in a new world. The Arab Spring has come. We need to make sure we have the tools and the flexibility to fund these initiatives,” Nides said.
Since the establishment of limited Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the mid-1990s, the U.S. government has committed over $4 billion in bilateral assistance to the Palestinians, who are among the world’s largest per capita recipients of international foreign aid.
The 2013 budget proposal includes $99,836,000 for Israeli missile programs, down from $106.1 million in 2012 and $121.7 million in 2011. The proposal includes $50,892,000 for the Arrow 3 exo-atmospheric anti-ballistic missile, which is under development, and $10,665,000 for the Arrow system enhancement program. The Iron Dome system against short-range missiles is allocated $38,279,000.
The administration’s budget proposal now goes to Congress, which has the right to amend it. For years, including for the 2012 fiscal year, the US legislature, has substantially increased the administration’s proposals for Israel’s anti-missile programs. Congress added $135.8 million to these programs in the 2012 budget, on top of what the administration requested, for a total of $235.7 million. $66,220,000 was allocated for the Arrow 3, $58,955,000 for the Arrow enhancement program, and $110,525,000 for Iron Dome.
As Senators Joe Lieberman (I-Conn), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Robert Menendez(D-NJ) announced their no-containment resolution, they released this statement:
“Iran has provided weapons, training, funding, and direction to terrorist groups, including Hamas, Hezbollah, and Shiite militias in Iraq that are responsible for the murders of hundreds of American forces and innocent civilians,” the resolution declares.
Democrat Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) have either expressed interest in signing onto the resolution or already have.