Administration blocks helicopters for Israel due to civilian casualties in Gaza
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has blocked Israel's request for
advanced U.S.-origin attack helicopters.
Government sources said the administration has held up Israel's
request for the AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter. The sources said
the request was undergoing an interagency review to determine whether
additional Longbow helicopters would threaten Palestinian civilians in the
"During the recent war, Israel made considerable use of the Longbow, and
there were high civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip," a source close to
the administration said.
The sources said Israel has sought to purchase up to six new AH-64Ds in
an effort to bolster conventional and counter-insurgency capabilities. They
said Israel wants to replenish its fleet after the loss of two Apache
helicopters in the 2006 war with Hizbullah.
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The Israel Air Force has also requested U.S. permission to integrate the
Spike extended-range anti-tank missile into the AH-64D, Middle East Newsline reported. Spike ER, developed
by the state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, has a range of eight
kilometers and was installed on the Eurocopter Tiger and AgustaWestland A129
The sources said the deployment of Spike would require integration
into the Longbow's millimeter-wave fire control and acquisition system.
They said this would require permission from both Boeing and the U.S.
Israel's Defense Ministry and air force have discussed procurement of
additional Longbows with the U.S. firm Boeing. But the sources said the
Longbow as well as other defense requests have been shelved by the
administration amid its review of the potential use of American weapons
platforms by Israel.
During his visit to the United States, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
also sought to win approval from the Defense Department for the installation
of Israeli-origin electronic warfare systems in the Joint Strike Fighter.
Netanyahu was said to have met Defense Secretary Robert Gates in a review of
Israeli defense programs with the United States. Defense Minister Ehud Barak
was scheduled to meet Gates in Washington in early June.
I sincerely hope that Obama does not shut out our greatest information source in the middle east. To not support Israel is to slap the Jewish state in the face in the time when the threat is the greatest.