U.S. fueling Israeli war jets

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Israel

As Israel's military ramps up its focus on Syria and Iran, the administration has decided to provide 864 million gallons of jet and other fuels to Jerusalem, according to Pentagon documents.

In a memo to House Speaker John Boehner, the Defense Department said the $2.67 billion sale of JP-8 jet fuel, diesel and unleaded gas will help the Israeli military hold its own in the region. "The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to U.S. national defense interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability," added a "policy justification" attached to the memo.

Israeli war jets over the last week have struck Syria twice and the country has beefed up defensive efforts on its border. Israel has also threatened to strike Iran's nuclear facilities.

Despite the huge planned shipment of fuel, the Pentagon said that Israel's military, now on a high state of alert, will have "no difficulty absorbing this additional fuel into its armed forces." The memo added: "The proposed sale of these three types of fuel will not alter the basic military balance in the region and will provide Israel with the necessary flexibility to balance its individual fuel type needs as the situation requires."

The Israeli air force flies several types of U.S. jets. As an example, the F-16 holds about 1,000 gallons of fuel.