House support for Israel damages prospects for peace

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iron dome
Israeli soldiers with and Iron Dome system,  Beersheba, Israel, 2011. Congress proposed on Monday to give Israel in 2013, $680 million for Iron Dome batteries. (Photo: UPI)

By once again demonstrating Congress’s bottomless cup of munificence for Israel, actions this week by the House of Representatives make painful across-the-board budget cuts more likely. U.S. taxpayers will be even more complicit than before in bankrolling Israel’s nearly 45-year military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip. Additionally, the American “generosity” will shred whatever little credibility the United States has left in attempting to portray itself as an “honest broker” to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on an equitable basis. And urging new weapons systems for Israel could help facilitate an attack on Iran. 

On Monday, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense released its draft 2013 budget bill, which includes an eye-popping $949 million for the research, development, and procurement of anti-missile systems to benefit Israel, including $680 million to purchase additional Iron Dome batteries.

The utility of the Iron Dome system, which is designed to intercept and destroy the crude, short-range projectiles fired by militants from the Gaza Strip, was demonstrated in March during an exchange of fire in which Israel killed 24 Palestinians and wounded 79. Iron Dome reportedly knocked down over 90 percent of missiles headed for civilian areas, resulting in no Israeli casualties.

While both Israeli and Palestinian civilians should of course be free from the fear of incoming missiles, by funding Iron Dome, the United States is largely immunizing Israeli civilians from the effects of conflict while leaving Palestinians in the Gaza Strip extremely vulnerable to Israel’s much more lethal assaults conducted with the most sophisticated U.S. missiles. While the Gaza Strip’s 1.6 million residents remain beleaguered under Israel’s blockade and collective punishment, Iron Dome perpetuates this injustice by significantly reducing the cost to Israel of maintaining this policy.

This funding comes on top of a record-breaking request from the Obama Administration to provide Israel with $3.1 billion in military aid in the 2013 budget. All told, the U.S. taxpayer is likely to be on the hook for more than $4 billion in weapons for Israel this budget cycle, at a time when the White House has proposed budget cuts for food safety inspection, water infrastructure, medical care and much more to avert the prospect of the across-the-board budget cuts from taking effect.

By dramatically increasing money for weapons to Israel — the 28th wealthiest country in the world in 2011 according to the International Monetary Fund, with a per capita income greater than Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, and South Korea — the House risks budget cuts to important social services that benefit millions of Americans for the sake of perpetuating Israel’s military occupation.

In addition, on Wednesday, the House voted 411-2 with 9 abstentions to pass the AIPAC-inspired U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act, a resolution with far-reaching implications for making the United States more complicit in Israel’s human rights abuses of the Palestinian people and for facilitating an Israeli strike against Iran. Although no price tag is attached to this resolution, by dangling before Israel even greater promises of access to U.S. weapons, the resolution sets the stage for more taxpayer largesse in the future.

Among many other problematic provisions, this ill-timed resolution urges the U.S. to provide Israel with air refueling tankers, a capability that military analysts believe the Israeli air force would need in order to launch an attack on Iran. The resolution also urges the provision to Israel of unspecified “specialized munitions” that could also be used to attack Iran. By passing a resolution that would facilitate an Israeli attack on Iran at a time when negotiators are attempting to peacefully resolve the Iranian nuclear enrichment standoff, the House unnecessarily ratcheted up tension and made the likelihood of war greater.

The resolution also includes a laundry list of items designed to deepen U.S.-Israel military ties that would only reinforce Israel’s ever-hardening grip on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, rather than provide an appropriate mixture of policy carrots and sticks to advance the prospect of Israel’s ending its military occupation as a step towards Israeli-Palestinian peace. The resolution commits the U.S. to giving Israel additional weapons from forward-deployed stockpiles of U.S. weapons already in Israel, providing additional loan guarantees, handing over additional weapons from the U.S. war in Iraq, and pushing greater Israeli participation in NATO.

Rather than routinely passing appropriations bills and resolutions that fund more weapons to Israel and deepen U.S.-Israel military ties, the House should reconsider how its military support for Israel is fueling Israeli belligerency, eroding the prospects for peace in the Middle East, and enabling a potential Israeli attack on Iran with U.S. weapons. Doing so is not to the benefit of Israelis, Palestinians, or Iranians; neither is it to the advantage of the U.S. taxpayer who will foot the bill for Israeli militarism.

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And you can be sure none of subect US government spending information will be presented to the American people by any branch of government or the mainstream press, despite the daily breaking news in the press depicting the sorry state of the US economy, ever-increasing poverty of US citizens, and constant battle between the main political parties regarding what should be cut from the US budget to stop the USA’s spiral into endless debt servitude… Read more »

If we don’t do everything in our power to point out these Israel-firsters in congress to the American citizenry and prevent them from even being elected to the position of county dog catchers, we will never be able to restore our country. All our efforts for justice in Palestine, and yes, right here in the US, will be in vain as long as these vile humans can be manipulated by the lobby to our detriment.… Read more »

RE: “Josh Ruebner is the National Advocacy Director of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation” FROM: US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation SENT: Thursday, May 10, 2012 6:27 PM SUBJECT: Take Action Now to Help Save the Lives of 2,000 Hunger Strikers in Israeli Prisons! As we approach the 64th anniversary of the Nakba — the catastrophe in which more than more than 750,000 Palestinians lost their homes and lands, and thousands… Read more »

Well look at it this way.
No Iron Dome means more casualties among our civilians means the government
is more pressured to act aggressively to stop the fire on our cities
means Cast Lead 2/3/4 etc. means more Palestinian casualties.

The faster Hamas understands the futility of his attempts to pressure Israel via military means the faster it will change his tactics to a more peaceful ones the better everybody will be.

The US went off the deep end in our support for Israel a long time ago, and the deep end just keeps getting deeper. There’s no justice or peace on the horizon and no end game in sight for the US. The mood is dark and foreboding, especially in light of what a war on Iran or the Arab Spring is going to mean for status quo US-ME policy. Oil is still the key. It’s… Read more »