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Economist tallies swelling cost of Israel to US Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â By David R. Diclofenac in us Francis, diclofenac in usÂ Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor / December 9, diclofenac in us 2002
Since 1973, diclofenac in us Israel has cost the United States about $1.6 trillion. Diclofenac in us If divided by today's population, diclofenac in us that is more than $5, diclofenac in us700 per person.This is an estimate by Thomas Stauffer, diclofenac in us a consulting economist in Washington. Diclofenac in us For decades, diclofenac in us his analyses of the Middle East scene have made him a frequent thorn in the side of the Israel lobby. For the first time in many years, diclofenac in us Mr. Diclofenac in us Stauffer has tallied the total cost to the US of its backing of Israel in its drawn-out, diclofenac in us violent dispute with the Palestinians. Diclofenac in us So far, diclofenac in us he figures, diclofenac in us the bill adds up to more than twice the cost of the Vietnam War. And now Israel wants more. Diclofenac in us In a meeting at the White House late last month, diclofenac in us Israeli officials made a pitch for $4 billion in additional military aid to defray the rising costs of dealing with the intifada and suicide bombings. Diclofenac in us They also asked for more than $8 billion in loan guarantees to help the country's recession-bound economy. Considering Israel's deep economic troubles, diclofenac in us Stauffer doubts the Israel bonds covered by the loan guarantees will ever be repaid. Diclofenac in us The bonds are likely to be structured so they don't pay interest until they reach maturity. Diclofenac in us If Stauffer is right, diclofenac in us the US would end up paying both principal and interest, diclofenac in us perhaps 10 years out. Israel's request could be part of a supplemental spending bill that's likely to be passed early next year, diclofenac in us perhaps wrapped in with the cost of a war with Iraq. Israel is the largest recipient of US foreign aid. Diclofenac in us It is already due to get $2.04 billion in military assistance and $720 million in economic aid in fiscal 2003. Diclofenac in us It has been getting $3 billion a year for years. Adjusting the official aid to 2001 dollars in purchasing power, diclofenac in us Israel has been given $240 billion since 1973, diclofenac in us Stauffer reckons. Diclofenac in us In addition, diclofenac in us the US has given Egypt $117 billion and Jordan $22 billion in foreign aid in return for signing peace treaties with Israel. "Consequently, diclofenac in us politically, diclofenac in us if not administratively, diclofenac in us those outlays are part of the total package of support for Israel, diclofenac in us" argues Stauffer in a lecture on the total costs of US Middle East policy, diclofenac in us commissioned by the US Army War College, diclofenac in us for a recent conference at the University of Maine. These foreign-aid costs are well known. Diclofenac in us Many Americans would probably say it is money well spent to support a beleagured democracy of some strategic interest. Diclofenac in us But Stauffer wonders if Americans are aware of the full bill for supporting Israel since some costs, diclofenac in us if not hidden, diclofenac in us are little known. One huge cost is not secret. Diclofenac in us It is the higher cost of oil and other economic damage to the US after Israel-Arab wars. In 1973, diclofenac in us for instance, diclofenac in us Arab nations attacked Israel in an attempt to win back territories Israel had conquered in the 1967 war. Diclofenac in us President Nixon resupplied Israel with US arms, diclofenac in us triggering the Arab oil embargo against the US. That shortfall in oil deliveries kicked off a deep recession. Diclofenac in us The US lost $420 billion (in 2001 dollars) of output as a result, diclofenac in us Stauffer calculates. Diclofenac in us And a boost in oil prices cost another $450 billion. Afraid that Arab nations might use their oil clout again, diclofenac in us the US set up a Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Diclofenac in us That has since cost, diclofenac in us conservatively, diclofenac in us $134 billion, diclofenac in us Stauffer reckons. Other US help includes: â€¢ US Jewish charities and organizations have remitted grants or bought Israel bonds worth $50 billion to $60 billion. Diclofenac in us Though private in origin, diclofenac in us the money is "a net drain" on the United States economy, diclofenac in us says Stauffer. â€¢ The US has already guaranteed $10 billion in commercial loans to Israel, diclofenac in us and $600 million in "housing loans." (See editor's note below.) Stauffer expects the US Treasury to cover these. â€¢ The US has given $2.5 billion to support Israel's Lavi fighter and Arrow missile projects. â€¢ Israel buys discounted, diclofenac in us serviceable "excess" US military equipment. Diclofenac in us Stauffer says these discounts amount to "several billion dollars" over recent years. â€¢ Israel uses roughly 40 percent of its $1.8 billion per year in military aid, diclofenac in us ostensibly earmarked for purchase of US weapons, diclofenac in us to buy Israeli-made hardware. Diclofenac in us It also has won the right to require the Defense Department or US defense contractors to buy Israeli-made equipment or subsystems, diclofenac in us paying 50 to 60 cents on every defense dollar the US gives to Israel. US help, diclofenac in us financial and technical, diclofenac in us has enabled Israel to become a major weapons supplier. Diclofenac in us Weapons make up almost half of Israel's manufactured exports. Diclofenac in us US defense contractors often resent the buy-Israel requirements and the extra competition subsidized by US taxpayers. â€¢ US policy and trade sanctions reduce US exports to the Middle East about $5 billion a year, diclofenac in us costing 70, diclofenac in us000 or so American jobs, diclofenac in us Stauffer estimates. Diclofenac in us Not requiring Israel to use its US aid to buy American goods, diclofenac in us as is usual in foreign aid, diclofenac in us costs another 125, diclofenac in us000 jobs. â€¢ Israel has blocked some major US arms sales, diclofenac in us such as F-15 fighter aircraft to Saudi Arabia in the mid-1980s. Diclofenac in us That cost $40 billion over 10 years, diclofenac in us says Stauffer. Stauffer's list will be controversial. Diclofenac in us He's been assisted in this research by a number of mostly retired military or diplomatic officials who do not go public for fear of being labeled anti-Semitic if they criticize America's policies toward Israel. Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported the amount of housing loans guaranteed by the US.