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Date posted: February 16, 2003
By Ronald Forthofer

Like a thief in the night, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is planning a raid on the U.S. Treasury to the tune of $12 to $14 billion.

This amount is in addition to about $3 to $5 billion Israel already receives each year from U.S. taxpayers. Shamefully, the Bush administration agreed to this raid, but asked Sharon not to campaign openly for these funds. Bush wants to keep the U.S. taxpayer in the dark about this incredibly huge transfer of our tax dollars to Israel. Bush is probably afraid that we taxpayers would question this gift in a time when he claims we can't afford to fund many programs here at home.

For example, $12 billion could provide health care for millions of our children who currently have to go to emergency rooms for treatment. Or it could fund affordable housing programs for hundreds of thousands of Americans. Some might prefer to use it to put money into the cleanup of Super Fund sites. Others might use it to jump-start a renewable energy program to decrease our reliance on foreign oil.

It is clear that there are many pressing needs here at home. There are also tremendous needs internationally where this money could make a huge difference in reducing poverty and help restore our image as a caring nation.

Some claim that Israel is our ally and therefore deserving of this huge subsidy. This is the same country that spies on the U.S. and which provided the Soviet Union with information obtained from Jonathan Pollard, the American who spied for Israel. Casper Weinberger, then U.S. Secretary of Defense, said about Pollard's treason that: "It is difficult for me ... to conceive of a greater harm to national security than that caused by the defendant in the view of the breadth, the critical importance to the U.S., and the high sensitivity of the information he sold to Israel." Israel has also provided China with weapons based on advanced U.S. technology. In addition, Israel is the nation that deliberately attacked the USS Liberty in open waters, killing 34 U.S. sailors and wounding another 171. With friends like Israel, who needs enemies?

If this aid were granted, how would Israel use it? Four billion dollars are for additional military aid and the rest is loan guarantees. Sharon, a war criminal to many throughout the world, claims Israel needs more military aid because of the second Palestinian Intifada. Talk about chutzpah! Sharon, along with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, were the ones who lit the match that sparked the Intifada.

Sharon can point out that it costs a large amount to maintain the brutal, illegal and immoral oppression of three million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Paying for bulldozers used in the destruction of hundreds of Palestinian homes and small businesses is costly. Maintaining thousands of Israeli troops along with supporting tanks on Palestinian lands does not come cheap.

Israel is also building a high wall between Israelis and Palestinians and this is a costly venture. Perhaps constructing a wall could be considered reasonable given the violence conducted against innocent Israelis and Palestinians. However, this wall is being built on Palestinian lands, taking about another 10% of the West Bank from Palestinians. The wall will divide Palestinian agricultural land from their villages, making life even more difficult for Palestinians.

Some of the funds will be used to expand create more illegal Israeli settlements, settlements that are the major obstacle to peace. The U.S. has repeatedly asked Israel to stop building settlements, but to no avail. This means, if these funds are granted, that the U.S. will continue helping to create more obstacles to peace.

Without this aid, Israel might be forced to adopt reasonable policies and to comply with numerous UN Security Council resolutions that it has flouted, seemingly, forever. Israel might finally realize that reaching a just peace with its neighbors is in its best interests.

To stop this high jacking of your tax dollars, contact your senators and representatives and demand that they say no to aid for Israel.

The author Ronald Forthofer, Ph.D. visited Israel/Palestine twice with the Christian Peacemaker Teams, most recently in 2001. He is a retired professor and was a Green Party candidate for Congress from Colorado in 2000 and for Governor of Colorado in 2002.

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Source: Palestine Chronicle
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