Taking on Israel Over Arms Exports to China

harpy.jpgOver at Arms Control Wonk, I summarized a couple of posts by blogger and export control guru Scott Gearity about the growing liklihood that the Commerce Department will issue expanded export controls for trade with China.Some folks in the Bush Administration are so serious about cutting off arms exports to China that they are willing to take on Israel.That is a brave move in American politics.steinitz.jpgYuval Steinitz (right), chairman of the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) Foreign and Defense Committee, tells Arms Control Today that "very soon [the US and Israel] are going to agree on a procedure with regard to Israeli exports to China."You may remember an ugly dust-up between between Washington and Tel Aviv a few years back when the latter tried to sell an AWACS-like PHALCON radar to China.The controversy flared up last year, after Israel proposed upgrading some Harpy UAVs it sold to China (above, big) in the 1990s with U.S. approval. Israel has canceled this deal, too ... but not before lots of Tel Aviv's friends in Washington turned downright nasty. The ever-charming Danielle Pletka called the deal "disgraceful" and "a situation where Israel acts like France."Them's fightin' words.The Defense Department was so pissed about these deals that they dumped Israel from the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. You'd be forgiven for missing the story because only Brian Bender at the Boston Globe and blogger Laura Rozen seemed to give this story any love.Anyway, Israel got the message. Scott Wilson at the WaPo reports (via Ha'aretz):

Israel will sign a memorandum of understanding with the Pentagon that will give U.S. officials some discretion over the terms of future Israeli arms exports. Israeli officials characterized the memorandum as a set of guidelines governing future transactions, including those in which the United States and Israel are competing.
-- Jeffrey Lewis
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