ZOA Critical Of Bush Administration Decision To Deny Refueling Aircraft To Israel
August 22, 2008


The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized the Bush Administration’s decision to turn down a request by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak to purchase the Boeing 767 aircraft, which can be used for mid-air refueling, amid fears that the sale would appear to support an Israeli strike on Iran. Although Israel has already refueling aircraft, including Boeing 707s, many of these are quite old (Yaakov Lappin, ‘US rejects Barak’s Boeing 767 request,’ Jerusalem Post, August 20, 2008).


Barak said that, the US has made it clear it was opposed at the present time to military action against Teheran. “The US‘s position at the present time is that they don’t see an action against Iran as the right thing to do … Our position, and formally their position as well, is that no options should be taken off the table. When we say that, we mean it … a small, isolated country like Israel needs in the final analysis to rely on itself, and only itself. Our network of ties in the world is very important, certainly our friendship with the U.S. … [But] in critical matters to Israel‘s future and security, Israel needs to be able to rely on itself.” However, Barak has avoided commenting on reports that the US administration has denied Israeli requests for further military items and defensive and security backing.


Two well-connected Washington Post foreign affairs columnists have reported in recent weeks that the U.S. has sent clear signals to Israel that it does not want to see the Jewish state hit Iran. Jim Hoagland referred to “strong US public and private pressure on Israel to forgo military strikes” while new UN sanctions on Iran are sought in mid-July. “Neither government will confirm that such pressure was exerted. Bush hates to say no to Israel, and he and Olmert do not want Iran to think that it now has a free hand on enrichment … But diplomatic and U.S. sources describe the pushback by Washington as intense and say it included indications that the United States would not clear Israeli bombers through Iraqi airspace or provide other logistical support in the event of attack now” (Herb Keinon and Hilary Leila Krieger, ‘Barak: US clearly opposes military action against Iran now,’ Jerusalem Post, August 14, 2008



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