Paying for peace at Wye.

Author:Smith, Dexter Jerome
Position:US financially committed to make Wye Peace Accord work

The US government has publicly made good private promises to effectively pay for peace across Palestine. The State Department has laid before Congress a $1.9 billion "implementation package" to underpin the American brokered Wye Peace Accord between Israel, Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority and Jordan.

The package calls for aid of $900 million in the forthcoming fiscal year (FY'99), and further appropriations of $500 million in each of the following two years. The deal breaks down into aid allocations of $1.2 billion for Israel, $400 million for the Palestinian Authority, and $200 million for Jordan, plus $100 million for contingencies. However, no party gets any money if Israel does not carry out its promised troop withdrawals in this land-for-peace deal negotiated at the Wye Plantation near Washington DC.

Detailed spending plans are still being formulated in bilateral negotiations currently being conducted by the US. They are likely to be firmed up in April, but it is already clear that virtually all the money is going to go on the purchase of US military equipment and support for the paramilitary police of the Palestinian Authority (since the latter does not have an army, navy or air force).

New electronic intelligence aircraft and the latest in attack helicopters top Israel's shopping list, while Jordan is after secondhand US tank-busting A-10 Warthog ground attack aircraft and ex-US Army M60A3 tanks, plus some border monitoring equipment.

Jordan recently upgraded its air force with the addition of 16 US Air Force surplus F-16A/B fighters, and has become convinced of the efficacy of refurbished nearly-new equipment from a down-sizing US military. These Wye memorandum monies reflect the potentially dangerous military vacuum that Israeli troop withdrawal from the West Bank of the River Jordan will leave on its borders - whether from Syria, Iraq or from rebel Palestinian terrorists.

Jordan was already due to receive $341 million worth of US aid in FY'99, including $141 million in military aid. Its Wye implementation monies will add an extra $66 million to its US military aid in each of three successive years.

Israel has by far the biggest purchases in mind, top amongst them being that of a fleet of Special Electronic Mission Aircraft to eavesdrop on neighbours' radio communications and locate their radar emitters, including fire control radars for surface-to-surface missiles.

Israeli officials estimate spending $500 million on between...

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