Israel is the largest recipient of US aid since its creation

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LAHORE: Outgoing US President Joe Biden landed in Israel on Wednesday for talks with his host Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas in the occupied West Bank.

However, as the Washington Post has hinted, the 79-year-old White House boss’s moves may not satisfy liberal Democrats who have vehemently criticized Israel’s six-decade occupation of the West Bank.

The famous American media house writes: “When fighting broke out between Israel and Gaza in May last year, prominent liberals chastised Israel for its military strikes and called on Biden and the United States to condemn its actions. with more force.

This dynamic has put Biden, a staunch and staunch supporter of Israel, at odds with a growing contingent of Democrats who not only refuse to shy away from criticizing Israel, but have also called for significant policy changes in the way states- United support the country.

The Post said, “Yet Israel has long enjoyed bipartisan support in the United States, and even as the mood toward the country changes, American politicians still overwhelmingly support it. In September, for example, the House of Representatives approved $1 billion in new funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system by a vote of 420 to 9.”

Biden also plans to visit a hospital in East Jerusalem and is expected to announce $100 million in new aid to the Palestinian healthcare system.

Research by the Jang Group and Geo Television Network shows that since 1985 the United States has provided nearly $3 billion in annual grants to Israel, the largest recipient of annual American aid from 1976 to 2004 Israel has also been the largest recipient of US aid ($146 billion, not adjusted for inflation) since World War II.

According to a report by the American Congressional Research Service, about 7% of these funds are spent on the purchase of American goods and services.

In 2019, the United States provided Israel with $3.8 billion in military aid. Needless to say, Israel also benefits from around $8 billion in US loan guarantees.

The Royal United Services Institute, the world’s oldest defense and security think tank and Britain’s leading defense and security think tank, noted that in addition to financial and military aid, states The United States also provides large-scale political support to Israel, having used its United Nations Security Service Council veto power some 42 times against resolutions condemning Israel, out of a total of 83 times its veto power has already been vetoed. used.

Between 1991 and 2011, of the 24 vetoes invoked by the United States, 15 were used to protect Israel.

Israel is currently the United States’ 23rd largest trading partner with $33.9 billion in merchandise trade (both ways) in 2019.

“CNN” reported, “Biden embraces a landmark achievement by Trump on the first trip to the Middle East, aimed at bringing Israel and Saudi Arabia closer together. Ahead of the trip, U.S. officials worked to deepen Arab-Israeli security coordination and broker deals that will bring Israel and Saudi Arabia — which do not have diplomatic ties — closer to normalization.

People familiar with the matter say Saudi Arabia is expected to announce this week that it will allow all commercial flights to and from Israel to use its airspace and allow Israel’s Muslim minority to take flights charters directly to Saudi Arabia to participate in Hajj, the annual pilgrimage event to Mecca”.

The main US news channel had more to report: “Biden will also fly directly to Saudi Arabia from Israel, a moment he called a “small symbol of the budding relationship” between the two countries. When Biden travels to Jeddah on Friday, he will attend a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council plus three – Egypt, Iraq and Jordan and will also hold a bilateral meeting with Saudi King Salman and his advisers, including MBS.

This is Joe Biden’s first-ever trip to the Middle East since taking office. The US president will then travel to Saudi Arabia, where he is expected to stress the need for further normalization of relations between Israel and the Saudis – historical enemies, but both of whom also oppose moves by Iran to increase its influence in the region, reports Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, a US-funded program broadcast in 27 languages ​​in 23 countries.

The world-renowned broadcaster, overseen by the Prague-based US Agency for Global Media, which oversees all US federal government international broadcasting services, says: “The journey begins July 13 with a three-day stopover in Israel. to discuss the West powers negotiations with Iran on reviving the landmark 2015 nuclear deal.Biden, who was President Barack Obama’s vice president when the original deal was struck, said makes reviving nuclear deal a priority of his presidency Israel and Saudi Arabia oppose moves by Washington to revive nuclear deal with Tehran Biden to visit Saudi port city of Jeddah on July 15 to meet King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman.President Donald Trump had a close relationship with the Saudis, but those ties have frayed since Biden took office, with his administration taking a tougher line on Riyadh’s human rights record.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Reuters news agency said Tehran and Riyadh wanted to continue talks.

Quoting Iran’s Foreign Ministry, the 170-year-old international news agency said: “President Joe Biden should try to bring Saudi Arabia and Iran’s archenemy, Israel, closer together. “Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran, which are locked in proxy conflicts across the Middle East, held five rounds of talks hosted by Baghdad, which the Foreign Ministry spokesman described as Wednesday of “promising”.

The “Washington Post” states: “Joe Biden and Israel go back a long way. As he embarks on his 10th trip to the Holy Land, he can look back on visits – as senator and vice president – spanning nearly five decades and nearly a dozen prime ministers.

In its recent report, the “Post” also quoted what Biden said in December 2021 while celebrating Hanukkah at the White House: “I was telling a few younger members of my staff, before I came, about the many times I’ve been to Israel. I said — and then, all of a sudden, I realised, “My God, you’re getting old, Biden.” I have known all the prime ministers well since Golda Meir. He added: “It won’t be the legendary Meir, who led Israel from 1969 to 1974, welcoming Biden on his first trip as president, of course, or even Benjamin Netanyahu, the longtime prime minister whose Frenemy’s relationship with Biden dates back 30 years. years. It will be new Prime Minister Yair Lapid, the former TV news presenter, who will be on his 13th day on the job when he greets the president on the tarmac. Israel’s volatile political scene – Lapid took office when the coalition government collapsed in turmoil in late June – means leaders will have to manage domestic pressures during a tightly scripted state visit, according to sources. officials from both countries.

Lapid’s centrist party faces elections in November, and polls show Netanyahu is ready for a possible comeback. Biden, an old-school supporter of Democratic Israel, grapples with the left wing of his own party, which has increasingly aligned itself with the Palestinians and linked the Middle East conflict to the struggle for racial justice in the United States.

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