Re: “When handing out foreign aid, tie it to political concessions” (Charles Krauthammer column, 3-8).
Krauthammer chides Secretary of State John Kerry for offering Egypt $250 million with no strings attached. A letter writer (TNT, 3-10) claims that the U.S. should apply that $250 million to our own debt, not give it away. Neither Krauthammer nor the writer notes that the U.S. gives Israel an annual entitlement of $3.5 billion: billion, not million.
After the 1978 Carter-Sadat-Begin agreement at Camp David, the U.S. began supplying Egypt with annual aid, tacit payoff for maintaining peace with Israel. We should have applied restrictions: Some of that money for the needs of the Egyptian people. Instead it went to the government, in time to President Hosni Mubarak, his cronies and the army.
The frustrations of the Egyptian people smoldered until a fuse lit in Tunisia exploded in a revolution in Cairo. Frustration can be very dangerous and should not be ignored.
Israelis understandably fear rockets from Gaza, and the U.S. has paid for the Iron Dome missile-deflection system which has provided some protection. However, if Israel truly wants security, it must ask the Gazans why they fire those rockets. The rockets are crude, counterproductive, even a childish gesture, but a gesture of frustration. Israel and the U.S. need to ask why that frustration exists.
The Israelis do not want to ask, but perhaps we should urge them to do so as we send the next installment of that $3.5 billion entitlement.