The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has praised President George W. Bush for deciding in favor of selling Israel sophisticated weapons for heavily fortified targets, including bunker-busting bombs. Contrary to previous reports suggesting that the Bush Administration would not sell Israel the sophisticated aircraft and equipment that could be integral to any future Israeli military strikes upon Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities, the U.S. Department of Defense announced it would sell the Israel Air Force 1,000 new smart bombs, rumored to significantly enhance the Israeli Air Force (IAF)’s military capabilities. The Pentagon’s announcement, which came on Friday, said the U.S. will provide Israel with 1,000 units of Guided Bomb Unit-39 (GBU-39) – a special weapon developed for penetrating fortified facilities located deep underground.
The $77 million shipment, which includes launchers and appurtenances, will allow the IAF to hit many more bunkers than currently possible. Although each bomb weighs 113 kilograms, its penetration capabilities equal those of a one ton bomb. During demonstrations, the GBU-39 – labeled by the manufacturer, Boeing, as a Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) – has successfully penetrated more than 1.8 meters of thick reinforced concrete with a 23-kilogram warhead. The GPS-guided weapon is said to have a 50-percent probability of hitting its intended target within 5-8 meters, which should minimize collateral damage. The U.S. has already supplied Israel with earlier versions of bunker busters. In 2005, the Pentagon authorized the sale of GBU-28 to Israel, in a move that commentators construed as a hinted threat aimed at Iran (Aluf Benn and Amos Harel, ‘U.S. to sell IAF smart bombs for heavily fortified targets,’ Haaretz, September 14, 2008).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We applaud President Bush’s decision to permit the sale to Israel of sophisticated equipment that might prove necessary to any future Israel military strikes upon Iran‘s nuclear weapons program. Such a sale is in line with long-standing declarations of U.S. policy, including by President Bush himself, that the U.S. will stand by Israel in its hour of greatest need and such a policy cannot permit a denial of sale to Israel of the necessary sophisticated equipment that Israel might need to defend itself form an existential threat, such as that posed by the Iranian regime’s nuclear weapons program.
“It is critically important to the security, not only of Israel, but the United States and the West, that Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons. If Iran becomes a nuclear power, the prospects of dealing with the problems of the Middle East will become enormously larger, to say nothing of the risk to America from Iran using nuclear weapons or passing these on to terror groups.
“Throughout all its years, Israel, unlike several other allies, has never asked the U.S. to come to its defense with its own armed forces and to put the lives of U.S. servicemen on the line. It has asked only that it be aided, not hindered, in its own efforts to defend the lives of Israel‘s people. By authorizing this sale, President Bush has stood true to American interests, long-standing U.S. policy and his own promises.”