The impending United States military aid package to Israel will constitute “the single largest military assistance package – with any country – in American history,” said U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice during her address to the American Jewish Committee Global Forum in Washington on Monday.
Before the previous deal between the two countries came to a close last year, Israel had asked the US for a roughly 50 percent increase in its aid to the Jewish state over the next ten years. The US acquiesced their request: Israel will receive between an estimated $37.5 billion and $40 billion throughout the coming decade, Ha’aretz reported.
These funds will “constitute a significant increase in support,” Rice said, and will supply Israel with the money it desperately needs to update its aircraft fleet and strengthen their missile defense system against daily threats on Israeli civilian security.
“Israel’s security isn’t [only] a Democratic interest or a Republican interest,” Rice continued. “It’s an enduring American interest.”
Amid her strong voice of support for the Jewish state, however, the Security Adviser had some harsh words against Israel’s ‘occupation’ which she insists is the main obstruction to peace in the region. The only path to “sustainable security for Israel and to dignity and self-determination for the Palestinians is two states for two peoples,” she said.
Essentially equating Palestinian incitement to kill Jews with Israel’s construction of Jewish communities in its Biblical homeland, Rice affirmed her stance, saying, “Just as we oppose counter productive Palestinian actions and strongly condemn incitement and violence, settlement activity corrodes the prospects for two states.”
Rice’s comments came just days after France hosted the International Peace Conference, during which more than 20 senior diplomats from western countries and the Arab world met to discuss the proper route to organize a peace conference which they hope will launch direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. The conference was met with criticism by many, however, as representatives from the two main parties involved, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, were excluded from attendance.
Although she fully endorses the “two states for two peoples” plan, Rice insisted that outside attempts, such as those made by conference attendees, would be of little use as she strongly believes the power to achieve the two state solution lies in the hands of the negotiating parties alone. “A solution cannot be imposed on the parties,” she told The Forward in an interview on Monday. “But, we continue to urge them [the Israeli and Palestinian sides] to undertake meaningful actions on the ground that are consistent with their rhetorical commitment to two states.”
For his part, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made countless attempts to fulfill Rice’s “meaningful actions”, which have included inviting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the negotiating table numerous times. Despite the many offers to make a lasting peace with the Israeli people, however, Abbas has rejected Netanyahu’s invitations, instead criticizing the Prime Minister for building on Palestinian land.