To: Sent: Friday, October 25, 2002 12:11 PM
Subject: [UsraNet] Top Ten Reasons to Oppose U.S. aid to
Top Ten Reasons
to Oppose U.S. aid to Israel
US diplomats like to say that when it comes to the
Palestinian-Israeli peace process the US plays the role of 'an honest broker.
"But the US's massive foreign aid payments to Israel mean that, in fact, the US
is taking sides. Israel is the largest recipient of US foreign aid in the world,
receiving more than $6 billion annually-or about $8 million every-day. Until the
US stops lending its weight to Israel through biased and unfair support, a truly
just peace will remain elusive.
1) Israel Systematically Violates the Human Rights
of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories
Every day, Israeli security forces in the West Bank
and Gaza violate articles of the 4'h Geneva Convention on Human Rights, an
agreement that governs wartime rules of engagement and to which Israel is a
member. Palestinian homes and agriculture fields are routinely demolished to
make way for illegal Israeli settlements. Israeli soldiers also regularly arrest
and detain-often for years-Palestinians without due process. According to
Amnesty International, Israel is the only country in the world that legalizes
2) US Aid Violates US Law
Laws passed by Congress prohibit the president from
furnishing military aid or selling weapons to any country that consistently
violates internationally recognized human rights standards or uses those weapons
in an offensive-rather than a defensive-manner. The US State Department says
that Israel engages in "torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of
punishment, prolonged detention without charges and trial, causing the
disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those
persons, and other flagrant denials of the right to life, liberty, or the
security of people." Weapons purchased from the US by Israel are regularly used
against unarmed Palestinian civilian populations.
3) Israel is an Exclusionary State
The Israeli Law of Return allows Jews from all over
the world to immigrate to Israel and gain citizenship there, but Palestinian
refugees who were forced to flee their homes in 1948 and 1967 are excluded from
returning to their homes and towns of origin. Even Palestinian citizens of
Israel-who make up 20 percent of all Israeli citizens-are third-class citizens,
and are not given many of the same rights as Israeli Jewish citizens. Israel's
official policy of discriminating against non-Jewish citizens makes the country
a kind of "trickle down democracy," and not one the US should be
4) Israel Is Illegally Occupying Palestine
The United Nation's General Assembly has repeatedly
condemned the Israel settlements in the Occupied Territories as illegal.
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are forced to live in apartheid
conditions, and the Israeli settlements built on confiscated land separate the
Palestinians from each other, making for isolated Palestinian Bantustans
surrounded by Jewish-only neighborhoods. By carving up the Occupied Territories
in this way, the rapid construction of Israeli settlements has prevented the
creation of a viable Palestinian state. Israel's continued occupation of
Palestine, sanctioned and maintained by the US, is one of the most serious
obstructions to a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
5) US Foreign Aid to Israel Maintains the
Military-lndustrial Complex Here in the US
The US requires Israel to use 75 percent of all the
military aid it receives to buy US-made arms. Consequently, every year billions
of dollars are funneled from US taxpayers to hundreds of arms corporations, who
then wage lobbying campaigns pushing for even more foreign military aid. The
results of this policy are twofold: it not only diverts much needed funding from
domestic education and social programs, but it makes US citizens complicit in
the abuses committed by the Israeli army.
6) The US Uses Palestine as a Military Test
The US relies on Israel to test out new military
technologies in battle conditions. For example, cluster bombs have been used in
southern Lebanon and ammunition containing depleted uranium has been fired
against civilian populations in Palestine. Israel has cooperated with the US
arms industry on research and development for new jet fighters, anti-missile
defense systems, and even the Strategic Defense Initiative, or the resurrected
"Sear Wars" program.
7) Israeli Abuses Normalize Human Rights
The US's failure to hold Israeli human rights
abusers accountable for their actions by, at the very least, ending aid to the
country is setting a dangerous precedent for other human rights violator around
the world. Every night news broadcasts around the world show the routine abuses
committed by Israeli security forces. The US often criticizes other nations for
poor human rights records, and yet Israel is rarely included in such criticism.
The US's support for the Israel in the face of these much-publicized crimes
completely discredits the US's claim to be "an honest broker of peace" and
contributes to the instability of US-Middle East relations.
8) US Aid to Israel Harms Israelis
For every dollar the US sends to the Israeli
military, Israeli taxpayers end up spending two to three extra dollars
supporting their military. By strengthening the Israeli military establishment,
US aid to Israel makes it even harder for progressive Israelis to create a civil
society committed t-o a just peace in the region. Israel has one of the most
powerful militaries in the world, with a large portion of the country's budget
allocated for the military. The country's massive military expenditures,
promoted in part by the US, mean that less money is spent on social programs.
The increasing US aid to Israel only serves to cement Israeli dependence on the
US and turns the country into a militarized "client state."
9) Israel Trains Other Undemocratic, Abusive
For years, Israeli military expertise has been
shared with other abusive undemocratic regimes across the globe. In the 1980s,
Israeli security forces trained a Honduran military intelligence unit, Battalion
316, that disappeared, tortured and killed Honduran citizens. Israel also
trained members of the South African apartheid regime's Inkatha hit squads that
targeted ANC leaders. US aid to Israel, then, has led to the support of regimes
that US taxpayers perhaps would not have otherwise aided.
10) US Aid to Israel Could Be Better Spent
One-third of the US's entire foreign aid budget
goes to support Israel. This is seven times more money than the US gives to all
of sub-Saharan Africa. Dozens of poor countries could use this money better than
Israel, which doesn't need this support: the country has more nuclear weapons
than China or France, and the Israeli economy is booming thanks its high tech
industry. US aid to Israel funds a brutal military responsible for regular human
rights abuses, the occupation of Palestine, and the expansion of illegal
settlements. If there is to be a chance for a just peace in the Middle East,
unconditional US support to Israel must end.
These are liable facts that should be presented to