Israel's quest for American arms: a case study of a client-patron relationship, 1968-78

Gancz, Nechama, Woodrow Wilson Department of Government and Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia
Ramazani, Rouhollah K., Woodrow Wilson Department of Government and Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia
Claude, Inis L., Woodrow Wilson Department of Government and Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia

This study analyzes the strategic, political, and economic factors underlying Israel's efforts to acquire sophisticated weapons from the United States during the 1968-78 period. The State of Israel has purchased more arms from the United States than any other nation, with the exceptions of Iran and Saudi Arabia. It would thus appear to provide a highly useful case study for investigating the motivations of a recipient state to procure sophisticated weapons and to form a reliable arms relationship with a major supplier. It would also seem that Israel, which is assumed to possess the ability both to mobilize domestic groups in the United States and to develop nuclear weapons, offers a good example for analyzing the instruments used by a recipient to acquire weapons and to resist political pressure by the donor state.

The objective of this study is twofold. First, it is to examine Israel's determination to sustain and deepen America's moral commitment to contribute to its survival in a hostile environment by the tangible means of arms supplies. Second, it is to demonstrate how Israel attempts to resist American efforts to use its need for arms as a lever for gaining Israeli concessions in negotiations for the cessation of hostility in armed conflict situations as well as for establishing peace in the Middle East. In effect, this work is an examination of Israel's efforts to acquire American arms and, at the same time, retain its autonomy in decisions concerning peace and war.

This study is presented chronologically and organized into six chapters. The first chapter analyzes Israel's struggle to procure American weapons from 1948 to 1967. The second chapter examines Israel's motivation to turn the United States into a major arms supplier from 1968 to 1970. The third chapter investigates the development of the "special arms relationship" with the United States from 1970-1973. The fourth chapter explores the effects of dependence upon American arms on Israel's decision makers in their conduct during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war and during the negotiations for the disengagement agreements with Egypt and Syria. The fifth chapter analyzes the factors leading to the loosening of the "special arms relationship" after 1976. The sixth chapter concludes the study by presenting several generalizations concerning a recipient’s conduct in attempting to acquire weapons from the United States.

The principal findings of this study are: (1) Israeli policy makers have been pursuing military, political, and economic objectives in their quest for an American partnership through arms acquisition; (2) Israel's success in procuring American armaments is a consequence of its nuclear program which serves as a useful "silent" bargaining instrument; its ability to exploit global rivalry for supremacy over the Middle East; its possession of Arab territories captured during the Six-Day War; and its ability to enlist the support of American Jewry and, more broadly, that of American public opinion; (3) American presidents have utilized arms leverage to press Israel to demonstrate political flexibility in negotiations for resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. Its effectiveness, however, in non-military conflict situations, is limited; (4 The growing dependence on American weapons affects the maneuverability of the Israeli government in wartime; (5) The "special arms relationship between Israel I and America had commenced to erode by the mid-1970s. There is, however, very little likelihood that the American-Israeli arms supply relationship will deteriorate to the point of seriously endangering Israel's existence as a sovereign state.
Note: Abstract extracted from PDF file via OCR.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Military assistance, American, United States -- Military relations -- Israel, Israel -- Military relations -- United States
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