Assistant Secretary Andrew J. Shapiro Bureau of Political-Military Affairs today stressed that United States is committed to Israel’s security and ensuring Israel’s qualitative military edge.
At the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Mr. Shapiro highlighted that Obama’s administration has taken steps to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship and preserve it in a new century and era of dramatic change.
“As a result of the Obama Administration’s commitment, our security relationship with Israel is broader, deeper and more intense than ever before. Prime Minister Netanyahu has said that the security cooperation between our two countries is “unprecedented.” In fact, I believe that no American administration has done as much as ours for Israel’s security.” -Mr. Shapiro
He stressed that it is widely known that the two countries share a special bond that is rooted in their common values and interwoven cultures. He said it famously took President Truman just 11 minutes to extend official, diplomatic recognition to the State of Israel when it was founded in 1948. Since then, the United States’ unwavering commitment to Israel’s security has been one of the fundamental tenets of America’s national security.
He stressed the commitment between two countries has stretched back over 60 years – across Democratic and Republican administrations – and has been continued by the Obama administration.
“As President Obama said, “the United States is committed to Israel’s security. We are committed to that special bond, and we are going to do what’s required to back that up, not just with words but with actions.” -Mr. Shapiro
He emphasized that the cornerstone of America’s security commitment to Israel has been an assurance that the United States would help Israel uphold its qualitative military edge. He added that the most direct tool that the United States uses to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge is security assistance.
According to Mr. Shapiro, for some three decades, Israel has been the leading beneficiary of U.S. security assistance through the Foreign Military Financing program, or FMF. Currently, Israel receives $3 billion per year in U.S. funding for training and equipment under FMF. The total FMF account is about $5.5 billion annually and is distributed among some 70 countries. He said it is a testament to U.S. special security relationship that each year Israel accounts for 60 percent of U.S. security assistance funding distributed through FMF.
“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.” -Mr. Shapiro
He noted that U.S. funding commitment directly supports Israel’s security, as it allows Israel to purchase the sophisticated defense equipment it needs to protect itself, deter aggressors, and maintain its qualitative military edge.
He stressed that U.S. relationship with Israel is often overlooked. He said America’s commitment to Israel’s security and prosperity has extended over many decades because American leaders on both sides of the aisle have long understood that a robust United States-Israel security relationship is in U.S. interests.
“Our support for Israel’s security helps preserve peace and stability in the region. If Israel were weaker, its enemies would be bolder. This would make broader conflict more likely, which would be catastrophic to American interests in the region. It is the very strength of Israel’s military which deters potential aggressors and helps foster peace and stability. Ensuring Israel’s military strength and its superiority in the region, is therefore critical to regional stability and as a result is fundamentally a core interest of the United States.” -Mr. Shapiro
He emphasized that the United States and Israel also see eye to eye on host of strategic questions. He said Israel is a vital ally and serves as a cornerstone of our regional security commitments. He pointed out that from confronting Iranian aggression, to working together to combat transnational terrorist networks, to stopping nuclear proliferation and supporting democratic change and economic development in the region – it is clear that both countries’ strategic outlook, as well as their national interests are strongly in sync.