WASHINGTON (May. 2)
Israel will again this year be the major recipient of U.S. arms sales abroad, according to a confidential State Department report.
The New York Times on Monday disclosed the administration’s proposed arms sales for 1988, after it received a copy of the so-called Javits Report, which the administration is required to send Congress annually.
This year’s report, submitted in late February, contains $15 billion in proposed sales, $3.6 billion of which are expected to be offered to Israel.
Israel is targeted to purchase more U.S. weapons than any other country in 1988. The Times reported that the next two largest purchasers could be South Korea, at $3.3 billion, and Egypt, at $2.7 billion. Egypt is to purchase about $2 billion of M-1Al tanks, which accounts for the jump in sales to Egypt from $378 million in 1987.
The report also contains proposed sales of various weaponry to Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. They are targeted to buy upgrades for Hawk anti-aircraft missiles. A Capitol Hill source told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that none of those weapons poses a threat to Israel; they are designed to protect freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf.
The administration formally notified Congress on April 27 of plans to sell Saudi Arabia $825 million of AWACS support equipment, Bradley fighting vehicles and TOW II anti-tank missiles. Congress has until May 27 to block that sale; otherwise, it will automatically go through.
Capitol Hill sources said the Saudi sale poses no military threat to Israel, and that the motive of more than 240 members of Congress in protesting the sale was to criticize the kingdom’s initial concealment of its recent acquisition of medium-range missiles from China.
Noticeably absent from the report are any proposed arms sales to Jordan. The Reagan administration had considered a possible $14 million sale of Sidewinder missiles to Jordan in early February. That proposal predated the release of the Javits Report, however.
In the past, Congress has blocked arms sales to Jordan so long as it refuses to negotiate directly with Israel.
75 F-16 PLANES FOR ISRAEL
Israel, under the Javits Report, is being allowed to purchase $2 billion of F-16 fighter planes. The 75 planes, which would be ready for delivery starting in 1990, are designed to partially offset Israel’s 1987 cancellation of the Lavi fighter project.
The administration formally notified Congress of that sale April 4, and it will become official Wednesday, unless there is an 11th-hour vote to block it.
The United States also could sell Israel $150 million of new equipment to upgrade its F-15 fighter planes; AN/TPQ-37 radars; and upgrades for M-109 howitzers, the Times quoted the report as saying.
The report allows for sales of more than $1 billion of attack helicopters, UH-60 transport helicopters, reconnaissance helicopters and upgrades for CH-53 cargo helicopters.
Israel could also receive U.S. components to use in its new Dolphin submarines and Saar patrol boats. In addition, it could buy night vision equipment as well as the “Global Positioning System, which picks up signals from earth-orbiting satellites,” the Times reported.