Tag Archives: U.S. Aid to Israel

Israel beneficiary of U.S. strong-arm tactics against countries in Middle East

(AMP 08/18/2010) – Not only does the United States support Israel with more than $3 billion in unconditional military aid every year, but the Jewish state is also the beneficiary of American strong-arm tactics when it comes to other countries in the Middle East.

Earlier this month, the United States threatened to withhold U.S. foreign aid payments to Lebanon and Turkey because of their relationships with Israel. In fact, the U.S. is withholding a $100 million payout to Lebanon because of a border skirmish with Israeli soldiers that left four people dead on Aug. 3. This, despite the fact an Associated Press photograph proves the Israeli soldiers instigated the incident by trying to uproot trees on the Lebanese side of the border.

U.S. representatives Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Valley Village), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Nita M. Lowey (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the Appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations, voted to withhold the aid out of fear the Lebanese army  may be using the money to purchase weapons it could use against Israel, the Los Angeles Times reported.

In a related move, the London Financial Times newspaper reported on Monday that White House officials threatened to cut off aid to Turkey if that country doesn’t improve its relations with Israel. Those relations – which already were strained because of Israel’s attack on Gaza in the winter of 2008/09 that killed more than 1,400 Palestinians – took a turn for the worse after Israeli commandoes killed nine unarmed Turkish citizens, who were part of a flotilla taking humanitarian aid to the besieged residents of Gaza, in May.

One senior administration official said: “The president has said to (Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip) Erdogan that some of the actions that Turkey has taken have caused questions to be raised on the Hill [Congress]. . . about whether we can have confidence in Turkey as an ally. That means that some of the requests Turkey has made of us, for example in providing some of the weaponry … will be harder for us to move through Congress,” the Financial Times reported.

The White House has since denied any such statements were made.

“Both incidents show what sway the pro-Israel lobby has with U.S. congressmen. It also proves that the United States can, and does, use foreign aid payments as a leverage to manipulate the behavior of recipients,” said Dr. Hatem Bazian, AMP chairman and professor of Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. “Activists for years have called on Congress to use the exact same tools to force Israel to improve its abysmal human rights record when it comes to its treatment of the occupied Palestinian people.”

The American Muslims for Palestine reaffirms its call to Congress to force Israel to end the occupation of Palestine and the siege on Gaza by withholding U.S. aid to Israel that is the equivalent of $7 million per day. Israel’s occupation is illegal and in direct violation of several international laws as well as United Nations Resolution 242. Israel’s human rights abuses are recorded regularly by several American, Palestinian and Israel human rights groups. The abuses are also documented annually by the U.S. Department of State.

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U.S. State Department admits to Israeli violence, including murders, but lays onus of safety on American citizens

The U.S. Department of State has updated its travel warning on Israel, Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem.

The warning includes comments about Israel’s deadly attack in international waters on the Freedom Flotilla, saying attempts to enter Gaza by sea have resulted in violence, injury and death.

The State Department strongly urges that U.S. citizens refrain from all travel to the Gaza Strip.  This recommendation applies to all U.S. citizens, including journalists and aid workers.  U.S. citizens should be aware that as a consequence of a longstanding prohibition on travel by U.S. government employees into the Gaza Strip, the ability of consular staff to offer timely assistance to U.S. citizens there is extremely limited.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) strictly controls the crossing points between Israel and the Gaza Strip, and has essentially sealed the border.  The security environment within Gaza and along its borders, including its border with Egypt and its seacoast, is dangerous and volatile.  U.S. citizens are advised against traveling to Gaza by any means, including via sea.  Previous attempts to enter Gaza by sea have been stopped by Israeli naval vessels and resulted in the injury, death, arrest, and deportation of U.S. citizens.  From December 27, 2008, through January 17, 2009, the IDF conducted a major military operation in Gaza.  Israel and Hamas, a State Department-designated foreign terrorist organization that violently seized power in Gaza in June 2007, declared separate truces to end the fighting.  Occasional small clashes continue to occur along the border.  Rockets and mortars are still occasionally fired into Israel from Gaza, and the IDF continues to conduct military operations inside Gaza, including airstrikes.  The IDF has also declared an exclusion zone inside Gaza along the border with Israel and has taken lethal measures against individuals who enter it.

On the West Bank, the State Department urges American citizens to use extreme caution while traveling there as Israeli military incursions can happen at any time.

The IDF continues to carry out security operations in the West Bank.  Israeli security operations, including incursions into Palestinian population centers, can occur at any time and lead to disturbances and violence.  U.S. citizens can be caught in the middle of potentially dangerous situations.  Some U.S. citizens involved in demonstrations in the West Bank have sustained serious injuries in confrontations with Israeli settlers and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). … U.S. citizens have been killed, seriously injured, or detained and deported as a result of encounters with IDF operations in Gaza and the West Bank.

The clear question here is this: When the U.S. State Department decisively state the danger Israel, its military and pro-occupation policies pose to American citizens, when then when it comes to negotiating the  ‘peace process’ it is always the Palestinians who are called upon to stop violence?

The U.S. government, under the auspices of the State Department, precisely states in this travel warning that interaction with Israeli military forces and/or illegal Zionist colonial settlers may result in the serious injury or death of U.S. citizens. It is inconceivable that these facts – laid bare here for anyone who cares to read them – never make their way to the mainstream media or into the halls of Congress, where the  majority of lawmakers are only too happy to keep pro-occupation lobbyists sated by  consistently supporting Israel in all its murderous and illegal actions while lining their pockets with tainted donations.

And while lawmakers continue to turn a blind eye to the harm that may befall an American citizens at the hands of Israel, is it any wonder they do so little to restore human rights and dignity to the occupied Palestinian people?

We must continue to bring pressure to bear upon our elected officials that these double standards are unacceptable and intolerable. We must continue to demand that the U.S. stop using our hard-earned money to pay for Israel’s illegal, unjust and inhumane occupation of the Palestinian people.

~ Kristin Szremski 6/21/2010

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