Background

According to the 2013 Congressional Research Service report prepared for the US Congress, “Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of US foreign assistance since World War II. To date, the US has provided Israel $118 billion (current, or non-inflation-adjusted, dollars).” Starting in the mid-1970s, the US has been sending Israel between $2-3 billion in economic and military aid each year.

The CRS report also notes that: “Strong congressional support for Israel has resulted in Israel receiving benefits not available to any other countries; for example, Israel can use some US military assistance both for research and development in the United States and for military purchases from Israeli manufacturers. In addition, US assistance earmarked for Israel is generally delivered in the first 30 days of the fiscal year, while most other recipients normally receive aid in installments.” Furthermore, “Israel also receives funds from annual defense appropriations bills.”

When Washington phased out its economic aid to Israel in 2000, military aid increased in its place. In 2007, the Bush Administration agreed to a $30 billion military aid package for Israel to be spent over the following ten years. According to If Americans Knew, by 2012 the US was sending $3.1 billion in military aid to Israel each year, or an average of $8.5 million a day, representing over 18 per cent of the overall Israeli defense budget.

And beyond the $3.1 billion already allocated for this year, Reuters reports that the US Congress voted in December 2013 to spend an additional $500 million on military aid to Israel. This represents an almost 20 per cent increase in US spending on military aid to a foreign country during a time when federal government employees have been forced to accept furloughs and social spending continues to precipitously decline.

Meanwhile, Israel has continued to expand its colonial project in Palestine, building more illegal settlements, demolishing more Palestinian homes, annexing more land through an apartheid wall, incarcerating more Palestinian civilians in military courts, denying more sick patients from accessing treatment and more young students from attaining an education.

It is time for US citizens to say no to funding Israeli occupation and apartheid. It is time to tell Washington to spend US tax dollars on supporting the education and health of its own citizens, not the brutal occupation of the Palestinian people.

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