A new lawsuit filed by the director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy aims to put an end to some 40 years of the US government violating its own International Security Assistance and Arms Export Control Act of 1976, related to providing military aid to clandestine nuclear weapons power.
In this case the focus is on Israel, which is widely acknowledged to have a substantial nuclear weapons arsenal, but is not a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Since 1976, the US has provided some $234 billion in military aid to Israel, with a new record deal expected to be finalized soon.
The intention of the law (in particular the Glenn Amendment) was to ensure that the US was not supporting, even indirectly, any nation which had embarked on a program to create nuclear arms. The law provided a loophole, which would allow a president to continue such aid if he could both certify the aid was a key US interest AND that the country in question was to put its entire program under IAEA auspices. Israel, however, has had no such intentions.
The lawsuit further alleges that the US government has made it a matter of policy since 1976 to keep Israel’s nuclear program a secret, citing the FOIA recovery of a heavily redacted directive of the Department of Energy which effectively banned all US officials and contractors, under threat of prison, from mentioning Israel’s nuclear capabilities.
This attempt to skirt the letter of the law through “ambiguity” closely mirrors what the US did with Egypt after their 2013 military coup d’etat. US law similarly forbids providing military aid to a nation ruled by a military junta, a law which the Obama Administration got around by just never “officially” recognizing the coup.
The Israel effort is the same, except more preposterous, as US officials often more or less publicly affirm their intention to keep Israel’s arsenal “secret,” and in 2010 President Obama even declared Israel to have a “right” to possess nuclear arms, even though this admission ought to have obliged the end to military aid to Israel.
The billions sent to Israel annually have become such a centerpiece of US policy that it is virtually unthinkable that they would allow a little thing like its overt illegality get in the way. Still, if they lost this lawsuit they’d be obliged to either end the aid or change the law to admit Israel can flout this restriction.