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Sunday, October 13

Top Ten Reasons to Oppose U.S. aid to Israel
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Until the US stops lending its weight to Israel through biased and unfair support, a truly just peace will remain elusive.
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 torture.

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 supporting.

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 Ground

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 Violations

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 Regimes

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

America is Broke
America is Broke
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.

For more information about the Palestine Campaign at Global Exchange, contact Eman Desouky at 

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