By Jamal Kanj
Recent report by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation revealed that the US has provided Israel with more than $103 billion between 1949 and 2008. More than any amount spent on any foreign country not occupied by US forces.
It is even more absurd during economic hardship at home for the US to sign a Memorandum of Understanding granting Israel additional $30 billions between Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 and 2018. This is further to another $24.1 billion paid from FY 2000 to 2009. Bringing the total US tax payer’s tab to more than 54 $billion in less than 20 years.
Is Israel putting US money into good use?
Israel receives almost one third of the total US foreign aid appropriation. But in reality, more than half of the aid is set aside, directly or indirectly, for Israel. The other major international aid recipients, contingent on their peace treaties with Israel are Egypt, Jordan and Palestine. But unlike all others, Israel receives its aid at the beginning of US FY year.
US aid program was envisaged, arguably, to promote peace and help underprivileged nations. Following the signing of the Camp David peace treaty with Egypt, and ostensibly to promote peace, annual financial aid to Israel swelled to more than $3 billion.
However instead of programs to anchor future peace, Israel utilized US aid to perpetuate war and hatred. Since occupying the West Bank and Gaza, US aid was used in massive concrete desertification scheme destroying more than 6000 dunams of agricultural land and uprooting approximately 450,000 trees; demolishing more than 30,000 homes for native Palestinians and building hundreds of thousands of “Jewish only” habitats in 152 illegal colonies.
After signing the peace treaty with Egypt, Israeli settler’s population in the West Bank was less than 20,000. Today, they number more than 300,000. In fact, since signing the purported Peace Accord with Palestinians in 1993, the illegal Jewish colonial population increased roughly by 200 per cent.
If not promoting peace, are there economical justifications to aid Israel?
The 2010 World Economic Global Comprehensive Report ranked Israel 24th largest economy in the world. In the same year’s International Monetary Fund’s Gross Domestic Product Purchasing Power Parity, Israel trails Italy, and eight places ahead of Saudi Arabia on the scale measuring wealth of nations.
While “aiding the less affluent” Saudi Arabia might be more worthy investment for the wellbeing of US economy; but how would US tax payers feel if Saudi Arabia was allotted $30 billion of US tax money in the next 9 years?
Nevertheless and unlike Israel, Saudi Arabia and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council have pumped in the last 20 years more than $100 billion into the US economy buying armament. Today, they are in discussion to spend more money on the US military industrial complex for a proposed regional missile shield system.
Meanwhile, Israel’s missile shield (Iron Dom) was entirely financed by US tax payers, above and beyond the annual aid appropriations.
Plunged in $15 trillion debt at home, there are no moral or strategic justifications for sending US Tax payer’s money abroad when Americans are expected to tighten their belts and US Congress is proposing to trim government spending for students and proposing to phase out Medicare for the elderly.
– Jamal Kanj writes frequently on Arab World issues and the author of “Children of Catastrophe, Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America”, Garnet Publishing, UK . Jamal’s articles can be read at www.jamalkanj.com. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.