October 9, 2010


 The Obama administration is offering “incentives” to encourage Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to agree to a limited renewal of the freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank.

“The U.S. has come back to Israel with a number of suggestions, incentives if you would, that enable the government to maybe pass a limited extension of two or three months,” Israel’s Ambassador Michael Oren told The Washington Post. Without the renewal of the settlement freeze negotiations will fall apart and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has told U.S. Envoy George Mitchell he will resign.

Yesterday we learned that those “incentives” may include 20 F-35 fighter jets. (See an article from the online global defense and military Web site,

Thursday in New York, Israel signed a contract with the United States to buy 20 F-35 fighter jets after Washington offered “incentives” to the Jewish state to help resuscitate peace talks. The White House last week denied reports that Obama had sent a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu offering Israel diplomatic, military and security incentives in exchange for a 60-day extension of the moratorium.

The sale of the Lockheed Martin-made Joint Strike Fighter will arm Israel with a more sophisticated combat aircraft than any nation in the Middle East. The U.S. recently sold $60 billion worth of weapons and hardware, including 84 F-15 fighters, to Saudi Arabia. The F-15s are less advanced than the new F-35 aircraft, which are still under development.

It is unclear whether the $2.75 billion sale is actually part of the $3 billion per year American taxpayers give to Israel as military assistance, or an additional sale. The aircraft are to be built between 2015 and 2017.

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