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In the name of ‘Israel’s security’, retreating US gives it billions more in military aid

By Ramzy Baroud | The Palestine Chronicle | January 21, 2020

Billions of US taxpayers’ dollars will continue to be funnelled into Israel in the next fiscal year, and for many years in the foreseeable future. Republican and Democratic Senators have recently ensured just that, passing a Bill aimed at providing Israel with $3.3 billion in aid every year.

The Bill, co-sponsored by Democratic Senator Chris Coons and Republican Senator Marco Rubio, was passed on 9 January, only one day after Iran struck US positions in Iraq. Enthusiasm to push the Bill forward was meant to be an assurance to Tel Aviv from Washington that the US is committed to Israel’s security and military superiority in the Middle East.

Despite a palpable sense of war fatigue among all Americans, regardless of their political leaning, their country continues to sink deeper into Middle East conflicts simply because it is unable – or perhaps unwilling — to challenge Israel’s benefactors across the US government. “What’s good for Israel is good for America” continues to be the supreme maxim within Washington’s political elites, despite the fact that such irrational thinking has wrought disasters on the Middle East as a whole, and is finally forcing a hasty and humiliating American retreat.

The latest aid package to Israel will officially put into law a “Memorandum of Understanding” that was reached between the right-wing government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Barack Obama administration in 2016. At the time, Obama had offered Israel the largest military aid package in US history.

Senator Rubio explained the passing of the recent Bill in terms of the “unprecedented threats” that are supposedly faced by Israel. Coons, meanwhile, said that “the events of the past few days [the US-Iran escalation], were a stark reminder of the importance of US assistance to Israel’s security.”

What is particularly odd about Coons’ statement is the fact that it was not Israel, but US positions in Iraq that were struck by Iranian missiles, and that they were fired in response to the killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.

Yet, the American taxpayers’ funding of Israel’s military adventures continues unabated, despite the rapidly changing political reality in the Middle East, and the shifting US role in the region. This confirms further that the blind US support of Israel is not motivated by a centralised, distinctly American, strategy that aims to serve US interests. Instead, the unconditional – and, often, self-defeating — US government funding of the Israeli war machine is linked largely to domestic American politics and, indeed, the unparalleled power wielded by the pro-Israel lobby in the United States.

According to the public policy research institute of the United States Congress, the Congressional Research Centre (CRS), between 1946 and 2019 (including the requested funds for 2020) US aid to Israel has exceeded $142 billion. Most of this immense sum of money — over $101 billion — went directly to the Israeli military budget, while over $34 billion and $7 billion went to Israel in terms of economic aid and missile defence funding respectively.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that the US no longer possesses a well-defined and centralised strategy in the Middle East; President Donald Trump changes American priorities from one speech or tweet to the next. However, the one consistent key phrase in whatever political agenda happens to be championed by Washington in the region at any particular time is: “Israel’s security”.

This precarious term seems to be linked to every American action pertaining to the Middle East, as it has for decades under every American administration, without exception. Wars have been launched or funded in the name of Israel’s security; human rights have been violated on a massive scale; the five-decade — and counting — military occupation of Palestine, the protracted siege of the impoverished Gaza Strip and much more, have all been carried out, defended and sustained in the name of Israel’s security.

US aid to Israel — the occupying state — continues, while all American aid to the Palestinians — the people under Israeli occupation — has been cut off, including the $300 million annual donation to the UN Agency responsible for the welfare of Palestinian refugees, UNRWA. The Agency has provided education, healthcare and shelter for millions of refugees since 1949, but is now, bizarrely, seen by both Israel and the US as “an obstacle to peace”.

Inexplicably, Israel receives roughly “one-third of the American foreign-aid budget, even though (it) comprises just .001 percent of the world’s population and already has one of the world’s higher per capita incomes,” wrote Professor Stephen Zunes in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

This massive budget includes much more than the $3.3 billion of annual funding, but the other amounts and perks rarely make headlines. Anywhere between $500 million to $800 million is given to Israel every year as part of a missile defence package; an additional $1 billion benefits Israel in the form of tax-deductible donations, while $500 billion is invested in Israeli bonds.

Then there are the loan guarantees, where the US government assumes the responsibility for billions of dollars that Israel can access as a borrower from international creditors. If Israel defaults on its loans, it is the legal responsibility of the US government to offset the interest on the borrowed money.

Since 1982, Israel has been receiving US aid as a lump sum, as opposed to scheduled payments, as happens with other countries. To fulfil its self-imposed obligations to Israel, the US government borrows the money, and is thus left to pay interest on the loans. “Israel even lends some of this money back through US treasury bills and collects the additional interest,” Zunes explained.

US relations with Israel are not governed by the kind of political wisdom that is predicated on mutual benefit. But they are not entirely irrational either, as the American ruling classes have aligned their interests, their perception of the Middle East and their country’s role in that region with that of Israel, thanks to years of media and official indoctrination.

Despite the fact that the US is retreating from the region, lacking strategy and future vision, lawmakers in Washington are congratulating themselves on passing yet another generous aid package to Israel. They feel proud of their great feat because, in their confused thinking, a ‘secured’ Israel is the only guarantor of US dominance in the Middle East. That is a theory that has been proven false, time and time again.

January 21, 2020 - Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Is there no stopping the foreign aid extortion going to Israel? Is there no decency or morality on the part of the American politicians who grovel up to Israeli influence? Do these politicians know what the Least Moral Army in the world does, do they ever see the pictures of what Israeli soldier and civilian thugs with machine guns do to Palestinians?

    Any country in the middle east which has come to the defense of Palestine, becomes an enemy of Israel and thus, is subject to its war-attacks, is subject to America war-attacks as Israel bids it to do.

    What a travesty, what a corruption, what a disgrace and what this has done to America is to make of it a willing accomplice to the most barbaric of nations of the twentieth century.

    Israel is not an ally to anything other than itself, and to its sponsors, it is the opposite of an ally.

    Americans, if you really think Israel is an ally, would it have done the Lavon Affair, would it have tried to destroy the USSLiberty and murder its American sailors, would it have have an as yet to be revealed, ever more a part and benefit in the assassination of Kennedy, would it have have an all-too-obvious hand in the attack upon the World Trade Center, would it have financed Jeffrey Epstein to compromise corrupt American politicians, having Ehud Barack sneak in the back door to oversee and finance that operation… and this extortion of money to bolster a country which brings war after war to its neighbors is not what an ally would do and…

    the list goes on and on.

    It has successfully portrayed itself as an ally. How foolish to think otherwise, how destructive it all is to American and all that America is complicit in what Israel does.

    Like

    Comment by michael | January 21, 2020 | Reply

  2. From Giraldi:

    “Let me speak plainly. The existence of many good Israelis to who oppose their own government’s policies notwithstanding, the current Israel is an evil place that Americans should be condemning, not praising. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should not be receiving 29 standing ovations from Congress. He should be rotting in jail. Israel’s shoot-to-kill policy and dehumanization of the Palestinian people is nothing to be proud of. That the United States is giving this band of racist war criminals billions of dollars every year is a travesty. That the reputation of American has been besmirched worldwide because of its reflexive support of anything and everything that this rogue regime does is a national disgrace”

    Americans still have no clue about this racist country practicing war crimes on a captive people. It is obscene already. Israel is obscene and the world should ignore these criminals.

    Like

    Comment by ontogram | January 21, 2020 | Reply

  3. The irony of it all is that, billions or no billions, the Zionist entity is by no means secure. I fully expect it to be overrun and destroyed within a few years. Nil desperandum!

    Like

    Comment by traducteur | January 22, 2020 | Reply


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