U.S. monetary support of Israel violates laws
February 20, 2006 —
The $13.7 million the United States daily gives to Israel in foreign aid is not only a ridiculously large amount of money, but it violates human rights and U.S. law by aiding in the destruction of Palestinian lives and land. The government should instead send this tax-incurred money to countries where it would be used to solve rather than create problems.
The U.S. gives Israel $5 billion annually. This amount includes $1.2 billion in economic aid, $1.8 billion in military aid, and $2 billion in federal loan guarantees. Taking these numbers into consideration, U.S. foreign aid to Israel is the largest sum of money given to a country, and amounts to 30 percent of the total U.S. foreign aid budget.
What is the government thinking? Israel is a technologically and militarily advanced nation that is wealthier than over 80 percent of the world's countries, based on its 2004 GDP per capita.
Then there is the fact that Israel's population is only 6.2 million people. That's right ... 6.2 million.
To put this number in perspective, Washington has the same population, Pennsylvania has a population that is twice that size, and 13 other U.S. states have larger populations. Even more depressing, Israel's population is less than one thousandth of the world's total population. The total U.S. aid to Israel since 1949 is currently over $84 billion, which exceeds that given to all of sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean - a combined area with a total population of over 1 billion people.
So, this money must definitely be going towards only honorable and necessary Israeli causes then, right?
Although the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act states that, "No assistance may be provided to the government of any country that engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights," inhumane Israeli practices occur almost daily against Palestinians. The Israeli army has reportedly performed strip searches at checkpoints, beatings, home demolitions, and torture.
Furthermore, the Arms Export Control Act actually forbids the U.S. government from selling weaponry to countries that use it for "non-self-defense purposes." But, the U.S. State Department has recently expressed that an "excessive use of force" was used when the Israeli army unnecessarily fired live ammunition at Palestinians.
In other words, the U.S. does not approve of the way these weapons are being used, yet U.S. foreign aid to Israel remains largely tied to the funding of the Israeli army. It is disturbing that the U.S. government continues to send Israel so much assistance. However, maybe the media is just as much to blame for this overabundance and misuse of foreign aid.
After all, these facts and figures are not reported on the evening news. CNN is too busy attempting to rival Entertainment Tonight, and most local papers do not believe their readers care. Perhaps it is true that readers of the Bay City Times or Saginaw News do not feel as though they are impacted by the U.S. donations to Israel. However, if they pay taxes ... then they are undoubtedly impacted.
Israel has received over $84 billion in U.S. aid since 1949, but U.S. taxpayers have paid over $134 billion to provide this aid. Interest is killer. Shouldn't this be something the public is well aware of? Shouldn't the media be reporting the illegal use of U.S. military aid? Shouldn't the government be sending aid to countries that need it for, say, food and medical assistance rather than for seemingly never-ending feuds rooted in religious beliefs?
Admittedly, there have been some articles published on this subject. There just needs to be many more. On the whole, this is America. Here, speech and the press may be free, but news is still too often reported by partisans or, worse yet, Katie Couric.
It might be true that ignorance is bliss. It is just sad that the U.S. government seems to habitually rely on the ignorance of its citizens for the allowance of its dubious foreign affairs.