Edition 2: No. 24
Congressional Committee proposes raising US taxpayer support for Israel’s military in 2013 to a record $4 billion
One never ceases to be dumbfounded by the way in which both the main parties in the USA seem to vie to outdo each other in their support to Israel. The USA is always joined in this political pastime by its European allies to soft-pedal Israel’s illegal actions in Palestine. Apart from holding up Israel as a show case for democracy in the region (something of a gag in itself), the West displays stunning duplicity when it fails to adopt consequential deterrent measures against Israel while, in the same breath, pursuing stringent instruments of punitive actions against countries that are not allies of the US and Israel.
Israel is the best known example of how a country largely violates its legal obligations with impunity. UN resolutions, the Geneva Convention, International humanitarian standards and practices, and internal human rights law are all victims of Israel’s callous and arrogant political behaviour.
Under normal conditions of justice and accountability to global governance structures, Israel remains the most protected country– protected by the very same group of nations who should, according to standards they preach to the world, be standing up to its repeated violations of international law. Indeed, the support goes beyond protection.
Since 1973 alone, Washington has provided Israel with a level of support dwarfing the amounts provided to any other state. It has been the largest annual recipient of direct U.S. economic and military assistance since 1976 and the largest total recipient since World War ll. Total direct U.S. aid to Israel amounts to well over $140 billion in 2003 dollars. Israel receives about $3 billion in direct foreign assistance each year, which is roughly one-fifth of America’s entire foreign aid budget. In per capita terms, the United States gives each Israeli a direct subsidy worth about $500 per year. This largesse is especially striking when one realizes that Israel is now a wealthy industrial state with a per capita income roughly equal to South Korea or Spain.”
According to this report, the Obama Administration requested $3 billion in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Israel for the fiscal year 2011. Beginning in 2007, the U.S. increased military aid by $150 million each year. In 2012, Israel will receive $3.09 billion a year (or an average of $8.5 million a day) and will continue to provide military aid at that level through 2018. U.S. tax dollars are subsidizing one of the most powerful foreign militaries. According to the CRS report, “[current U.S. military aid] grants to Israel represent 18.2% of the overall Israeli defense budget.”
By all accounts the United States has given more money to Israel than to any other country. The Congressional Research Service’s conservative estimate of total cumulative US aid to Israel (not adjusted for inflation) from 1949 through 2010 is $109.001 billion.
By contrast, the U.S. has never provided Palestinians with military aid although they have provided Palestinians with aid for policing their own people as well as with humanitarian and development assistance.
In addition, some funding has occasionally been provided directly to the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) in an attempt to strengthen it against competing political parties (particularly Hamas) and for use in policing the Palestinian people. Such funds are usually only authorized once Congress has received proof that they will be used for “non-lethal assistance.”
In some circles the argument is that the US’ pre-occupation is with investing in peace and, hence the absence of military aid to Palestine. The question that remains unanswered is: Why then invest in the war machinery of Israel?
With this as backdrop, one must view with deep unease, the decision of the US House of Representatives Defense Appropriations Subcommittee to approve almost $1 billion for Israel’s anti-missile defense programs. Tim King, a political analyst of conflict situations around the world in an article Congress Proposes Giving Israel an Extra $1 Billion for Anti-Missile Defense Programs observes: “The American politicians propose spending this exorbitant amount in order to upgrade the current ‘Arrow system, David’s Sling, and Iron Dome’. He goes to add: “The names are fancy, unlike the missiles they say they are defending themselves from. The munitions fired from Gaza are al Qassam rockets and they are little more than unguided fireworks. (Israeli and American media portray the ‘rocket attacks from Gaza’ as a serious danger and they claim that the large U.S. tax payer contributions are necessary in order to ‘defend’ Israel. The Gaza rockets have in all time, killed a total of 28 Israeli citizens. Some place the number at 29.)
Real-politik in the US and western world at large is defined by a sightless loyalty to Israel. The Zionist lobbies wield enormous power and influence and with the somewhat ambiguous ‘co-option-by-guilt’ that defines the way Europeans deal with Israel, one must contend with more support to Israel. The various interests may differ on everything else, but when it comes to aid for Israel, the cacophony turns into harmony.
It is hard to offer a chord of optimism under these circumstances except to believe what the Palestinians demand of us: ‘Be steadfast and we will see victory’.
Tim King’s article merits reading. With more than twenty years of experience as a television news producer, photojournalist, and reporter and assignment editor, and having covered the war in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008, he raises compulsive questions. Read more: http://www.salem-news.com/articles/may082012/israeli-missiles.php