President Reagan’s policy objectives in Central America circumvent Congressional objections with little known help from Israel.
Israel, now the fifth biggest exporter of arms in the world, is the largest supplier of weapons to Latin America. It also is a major source of training in intelligence and counterinsurgency techniques.
Israel “helps” Reagan policies by supporting the “contras” fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua; aids El–Salvador despite continuing human rights violations and right wing death squads; is turning Honduras into the chief gendarme of Central America; is building up Costa Rica’s security forces; and supplying Guatemala with weapons to fight increasing opposition.
Honduras: Israeli weapons go to U.S. backed counter-revolutionaries seeking to overthrow the Nicaraguan government from bases in Honduras. U.S. officials admit that Israeli assistance is important in achieving Reagan-administration military and political goals.
El Salvador: Israeli aid to El Salvador comes from U.S. military and economic aid to Israel. Meanwhile, some of the most vocal congressional critics of Reagan policies in El Salvador are also unquestioning supporters of aid to Israel.
Guatemala: Since 1976, Israel has been the main provider of weapons, aircraft, and training to Guatemala. Israel has trained Guatemalan military in the use of terror and interrogation techniques. Some of Israel’s most advanced electronic and computer technologies have been installed in Guatemala; hit lists used by the death squads have been computerized.
Costa Rica: Although Costa Rica has no army, Israeli military trainers and arms are beginning to pour into the country.
Israeli’s support for repressive regimes in Central America is not new. After Somoza’s National Guard killed journalists in 1978, President Carter cut off all aid to Nicaragua. Israel, bolstered by U.S. aid, picked up the slack and provided 98% of Somoza’s arms until July 2, 1979, just two weeks before the Sandinistas won the final battle.
Much of the military aid to war-torn Central America comes from the United States through Israel. Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid. Israel receives about one-third of all U.S. foreign aid which in the last 10 years amounted to about $25 billion or roughly $7 million a day.
We cannot stop U.S. military aid to repressive forces in Central America without forcing Israel to stop sending arms there also.
COVERT ACTION INFORMATION BULLETIN, Winter, 1984, “Israeli Arms in Central America, by Clarence Lusane; NEW YORK TIMES, 12/17/82, “Israel Stepping Up Arms Sales to Central America ” by Leslie H. Gelb.