The U.S. has just given Israel the largest military aid package in history. The $38 billion agreement will allow Washington's chief Middle East ally to upgrade most of its fighter aircraft, improve its ground forces' mobility and strengthen its missile defense systems, according to Reuters. Yet, before we applaud the Obama administration for helping to strengthen Israeli security, we must first look at the president’s key caveat.
“It is because of this same commitment to Israel and its long-term security that we will also continue to press for a two-state solution to the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict, despite the deeply troubling trends on the ground that undermine this goal,” Mr. Obama said. “As I have emphasized previously, the only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state is through the realization of an independent and viable Palestine.”
While National Security Advisor Susan Rice insists the aid deal is separate from the issue of a two-state solution, others consider Obama’s statement a not-so-subtle message. Aaron David Miller, a Middle East scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said Obama’s remarks prove he needs to “justify” the White House’s assistance to Israel.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict stretches back years and has been one of the many sources of contention between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The other disagreement, of course, is the nuclear deal, which Netanyahu warned would pave Iran’s path to a nuclear deal. He even made his case directly to Congress last year. Obama ignored him and now the administration is admitting the deal may indeed have boosted Iran’s confidence in harassing the U.S.