Report: US sold Israel "bunker busting" bombs for settlement freeze

September 23, 2011

Obama, come back and massage my Hebrew Hiney again. You’ve been a pain in my tuchus for so long! now be gentle and don’t tell anyone (h/t Yoel and EOZ ) From Eli Lake at The Daily Beast/Newsweek:

While publicly pressuring Israel to make deeper concessions to the Palestinians, President Obama has secretly authorized significant new aid to the Israeli military that includes the sale of 55 deep-penetrating bombs known as bunker busters, Newsweek has learned.

In an exclusive story to be published Monday on growing military cooperation between the two allies, U.S. and Israeli officials tell Newsweek that the GBU-28 Hard Target Penetrators—potentially useful in any future military strike against Iranian nuclear sites—were delivered to Israel in 2009, just several months after Obama took office.
The military sale was arranged behind the scenes as Obama’s demands for Israel to stop building settlements in disputed territories were fraying political relations between the two countries in public.

The Israelis first requested the bunker busters in 2005, only to be rebuffed by the Bush administration. At the time, the Pentagon had frozen almost all U.S.-Israeli joint defense projects out of concern that Israel was transferring advanced military technology to China.

In 2007, Bush informed Ehud Olmert, then prime minister, that he would order the bunker busters for delivery in 2009 or 2010. The Israelis wanted them in 2007. Obama finally released the weapons in 2009, according to officials familiar with the still-secret decision.

U.S. and Israeli officials told Newsweek that Israel had developed its own bunker-buster technology between 2005 and 2009, but the purchase from the U.S. was cheaper.

While the Obama administration has touted some public cooperation with the Israeli military, Newsweek’s article Monday will reveal other covert efforts by the U.S. military to aid Israel in the volatile Middle East region, and the impact the improving military cooperation has had on the sometimes chilly relations between Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the president’s popularity in the American Jewish community.

The leak must be intentional.
The story is quite believable. US military cooperation with Israel has remained high even as diplomatic relations appeared strained. It also makes sense that this is why Netanyahu would have agreed to a settlement freeze to begin with.

Kiss and Tell


Obama blocks delivery of weapons capable of destroying underground facilities, including Iranian nuclear weapons sites

March 19, 2010


Officials said the U.S. military was ordered to divert a shipment of smart bunker-buster bombs from Israel to a military base in Diego Garcia. They said the shipment of 387 smart munitions had been slated to join pre-positioned U.S. military equipment in Israel Air Force bases. “This was a political decision,” an official said.

In 2008, the United States approved an Israeli request for bunker-busters capable of destroying underground facilities, including Iranian nuclear weapons sites. Officials said delivery of the weapons was held up by the administration of President Barack Obama.

Since taking office, Obama has refused to approve any major Israeli requests for U.S. weapons platforms or advanced systems. Officials said this included proposed Israeli procurement of AH-64D Apache attack helicopters, refueling systems, advanced munitions and data on a stealth variant of the F-15E.

“All signs indicate that this will continue in 2010,” a congressional source familiar with the Israeli military requests said. “This is really an embargo, but nobody talks about it publicly.”

Under the plan, the U.S. military was to have stored 195 BLU-110 and 192 BLU-117 munitions in unspecified air force bases in Israel. The U.S. military uses four Israeli bases for the storage of about $400 million worth of pre-positioned equipment meant for use by either Washington or Jerusalem in any regional war.

In January 2010, the administration agreed to an Israeli request to double the amount of U.S. military stockpiles to $800 million. Officials said the bunker-busters as well as Patriot missile interceptors were included in the agreement.

The decision to divert the BLU munitions was taken amid the crisis between Israel and the United States over planned construction of Jewish homes in Jerusalem. The administration, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has warned that Washington could reduce military aid to Israel because of its construction policy.

In 2007, after its war in Lebanon, Israel requested 2,000 BLU-109 live bombs from the United States. The 2,000-pound bomb, produced by Boeing and coupled with a laser guidance kit, was designed to penetrate concrete bunkers and other underground hardened sites.

Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, was quoted as saying that his country faced its biggest crisis with the United States since 1975. A pro-Israel lobbyist said Oren was referring to the current U.S. embargo, which echoed a decision taken 35 years ago by then-President Gerald Ford after Israel’s refusal to withdraw from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Oren has since denied the remark.