Jerusalem – Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert confirmed yesterday that the Bush administration intends to provide Saudi Arabia with advanced weaponry, equal to about $20 billion, over the next ten years. A senior State Department official said last night that the administration hoped to bring the deal for congressional approval in the fall. Israeli officials also confirmed that the Israel was informed that American military aid to Egypt in the amount $13 billion would be delivered in the coming decade.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration also announced plans to increase its military aid to Israel of more than $30 billion for the coming decade. Israeli officials told the media that this allocation was made in order to allay Israeli concerns about the anticipated arms deal with Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Persian Gulf.

Since Saudi Arabia remains in a state of war with Israel and continues to fund Hamas along with the PLO terror groups in Damascus that oppose any peace agreement with Israel, the Bulletin asked the Israeli prime minister why Israel was not opposing military aid to the Saudis.

However, even if Olmert and his lobbyists in Washington do not necessarily oppose the Saudi aid, U.S. congressional leaders say that they will try to block the deal.

Members of Congress told the Washington Post that they oppose any deal to Saudi Arabia on grounds that the kingdom has been “unhelpful in Iraq and unreliable at fighting terrorism.” King Abdullah has called the U.S. military presence in Iraq an “illegitimate occupation,” and the Saudis have been either unable or unwilling to stop their own citizens from committing suicide attacks in Iraq, congressional sources say.

The administration plans to sell advanced satellite-guided bombs, fighter aircraft upgrades and new naval vessels to six Gulf Cooperation Council countries, including Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman, U.S. officials say.

Reps. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., and Robert Wexler, D-Fla., said on Saturday that they will introduce a joint resolution of disapproval to block the deals when Congress is formally notified. They have seven Democratic co-sponsors.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Weiner said any arms proposal would find broad bipartisan opposition on the Hill. “The reputation of the Saudis has taken quite a beating since 9/11, and despite the fact that the administration has done everything to portray them as part of the moderate Arab world, members of Congress of both parties are increasingly skeptical.”

Under the Arms Export Control Act of 1976, Congress must approve major arms sales. In 1986, the threat of a joint resolution of disapproval played a role in persuading the Reagan administration to cut back an arms package to Saudi Arabia.

Rep. Eliot L. Engel, D-N.Y., a senior member of the House Foreign Relations committee who was also briefed last week, said a pivotal issue will be whether Israel maintains the “qualitative military edge” in the region.

Israel Kills Islamic Jihad Commander

Israel has killed the commander of the Islamic Jihad network in the Gaza Strip.

Omar Al Khatib was killed in an Israeli air strike south of Gaza City on Thursday. Palestinian sources said his jeep was struck by an Israeli air-to-ground missile.

Khatib’s two other colleagues were also senior Islamic Jihad operatives. They were not identified.

Islamic Jihad has been the leading Palestinian insurgency group in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. The Iranian-sponsored organization was said to have conducted the bulk of missile strikes against Israel.

Israel’s military confirmed the killing of the 37-year-old Khatib, who escaped an Israeli assassination attempt on July 24. Military sources said Khatib, who planned an attack on the military base in Kissufim in June, was under intensive monitoring by Israeli intelligence.

“He carried out numerous rocket attacks against Israeli civilians and fired a large number of mortar-shells and anti-tank missiles at IDF forces along the Gaza Strip security fence and in the surrounding region,” an Israeli security source said.

Khatib’s deputy, Khalil Daifi, was also killed in the Israeli air strike. Daifi, 49, was said to have been involved in Jihad rocket attacks against Israel. The third Jihad casualty was identified as Ahmed Abar Al Al.

David Bedein can be reached at His Web site is

©The Bulletin 2007


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.