Washington has asked Israel to inform it before exporting weapons and military supplies to 27 "states of concern" - countries the United States considers threats to its national security or to regional stability, reported the daily Haaretz Monday.
So far, Israel has not rushed to send Washington a reply, waiting instead to see how the peace process develops, and what changes November's elections will bring to the White House, said the daily.
China and India feature most prominently in the American list of "states of concern" - as indeed they do in Israel's list of most important export markets. Another important country - in terms of its potential for importing Israeli military systems - that appears on the US list is Indonesia, Haaretz added.
The list has countries such as Iran, Iraq, Syria, North Korea, and Libya, that Israel also regards as potential threats to its own national security - and Cuba, Serbia and Pakistan, which it doesn't.
The US raised the issue of monitoring Israeli arms sales in response to Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak's request for an upgrading of the strategic relations between the two countries, the daily said.
The American attitude stiffened in the continuing dispute over Israel selling China an early-warning aircraft with the Israeli-made Phalcon system.
The US has demanded that Israel cancel the deal with China, saying it poses a danger to its national security by extending the capability of the Chinese Air Force, according to Haaretz.
In a proposal to Israel, the US demands that a joint board be established to deal with military sales of two types - deals involving the transfer of American technology to third countries, and sales to "states of concern."
The Americans are not demanding a veto over Israeli military sales, but a senior source at the Israeli defense establishment described the proposal as "an attempt to castrate our exports." It would prevent the Israeli defense industries from competing with American companies, said the daily.
One source was quoted as saying that "the list of countries is only preliminary and it may expand in the future."
The source said the US initiative has come at an awkward moment for Israel, because it cannot rely on Congressional supporters to block the administration - because Congress too is angry about the deal with China.
A senior American source told Haaretz "if Israel wants to be considered a strategic ally, it must accept the limitations of this alliance."
The source said Washington tells Israel of its intentions to sell weapons to Arab countries and is sensitive to Israel's security concerns in these deals, according to Haaretz - Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)