Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, May 2009
The Role of the US in Israel
By Samir Abed-Rabbo
ccun.org, May 3, 2009
Israeli apologists would like us to believe that Zionism, the political ideology guiding Israeli practices since its establishment in Palestine in 1948, is God’s chosen national movement for the re-establishment and maintenance of a Jewish homeland in “biblical lands”.
I believe that, from the outset, God Almighty was and is not involved in real estate transactions, and that the Bible was not currently and is never considered a source of International Law governing the relations between modern states. Just imagine if the world was to be reestablished according to the Bible’s era. The United States and most modern states would not exist.
Zionism, as it has been practiced by Israel since 1948, is a racist ideology manifested in several ways: An archaic political ideology that holds and promotes Jewish racial purity and divine entitlement to Palestine; military occupation through colonial human settlement, confiscation of land and expulsion of the natives; political exploitation through denial of basic human rights under the guise of spreading western values; and economic and cultural persecution through destruction, ethnic cleansing and genocide against the indigenous presence. In Israel, the historical record shows that:
1. Zionism is a segregationist movement founded on the premise that all Jews, regardless of cultural difference and religious observance, are one nation, and cannot be secure except in a state of their own, because the Gentile world (non-Jews) is inherently hostile to Jews. Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, argued that the key to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine was to encourage European ant-Semitism to force Jews out of Europe. Herzl states “ It is essential that the sufferings of Jews…become worse…this will assist in realization of our plans…I have an excellent idea…I shall induce anti-Semites to liquidate Jewish wealth…The anti-Semites will assist us thereby in that they will strengthen the persecution and oppression of Jews. The anti-Semites shall be our best friends.”
2. Zionism is a colonial-settler ideology that claims historical Palestine was desolate and uninhabited and that the Palestinian people never existed. In the few instances where the Zionists conceded the existence of the indigenous population, the Palestinians were labeled as “barbarians” or “terrorists”. The denial of the very existence of the Palestinian people and the process employed to demonize them enables Israel to justify its brutal practices against them. “Humane” Zionists advocate some rights for the Palestinians. But, never the same as those enjoyed by Jews. Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, ridiculed “humane” Zionists when he said “You cannot have humane Zionism, it is a contradiction in terms.” Jews, regardless of their country of origin, can settle in Israel on land that was confiscated by force after the expulsion of the majority of the indigenous Palestinians. In an essay titled “Judea and Galilee,” Ben Gurion describes the Zionist settlers in Palestine as “conquering, conquering a land. We were a company of conquistadors.”
3. Zionism distinguishes between Jews and Palestinians on various levels. Jews are considered nationals of the Jewish state, whereas a small portion of the Palestinians are considered citizens. Only Jews can own land in Israel, and this land is held in trust only for the benefit of the Jewish people. Palestinians, therefore, are treated merely as tillers and tenants on Jewish land and it is only a matter of time before they are completely expelled. After expelling the majority of the Palestinians from Palestine in 1948-49, Israel concentrated on cleansing the Galilee of its original owners. Once again, Ben Gurion informs us of the preferred Zionist practices when he said, “We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population.”
4. Zionism is, in its campaign to segregate the Jews and to establish an exclusive Jewish state, partially derived from the narrow tribal understanding of Judaism that the cosmos is divided into five parts: plants, vegetables, animals, human beings and Jews- Jews being the noblest and the closest to God. Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg, an Israeli rabbi of Joseph’s Tomb Yeshiva in the occupied Palestinian city of Nablus, publicly declared that “Jewish blood and gays’ (non-Jewish) blood are not the same.” The Zionist ideologist, N. Sukulov, stated explicitly, “There is not an absolutely pure race, but the Jews are undoubtedly the purest race among civilized nations.”
5. Zionist advocacy regarding the indigenous population, the Palestinian people, is centered on a) “being crushed like grasshoppers,” as Israel’s former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir wrote in “Hehazit”: “We have before us the command of the Torah, whose morality surpasses that of any other body of laws in the world: ‘Ye shall blot them out to the last man.” This genocidal view has been shared by many in Israel including several Israeli Prime Ministers such as Begin, Shamir, Sharon, and Netanyahu; b) being converted by Orthodox rabbis to Judaism, to culturally join the “noble race,” even though this option is not available to the Palestinians. For a Palestinian to be converted the Orthodox rabbi performing the ritual must obtain a certificate for conversion from the Israeli secret police which already views the Palestinians as suspect; and c) seeking refuge outside of Palestine or risking involuntary expulsion, for there is no room for non-Jews in the Jewish state. The Washington Post of July 3, 2001 reported that Rehavam Zeevi's, Israel Minister of Tourism said of Palestinians who were living “illegally” in Israel “We should get rid of the ones who are not Israeli citizens the same way you get rid of lice. We have to stop this cancer from spreading within us.” According to the New York Times of April 14, 1983, Raphael Eitan, Israel's military chief of staff, speaking of plans to increase Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, said: “When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be scurry around like drugged roaches in a bottle.”
The following Israeli Laws clearly illustrate and illuminate the above thesis that Israel is A Jewish state of Jews by Jews for Jews and that its practices against non Jews are racially motivated:
Israel has written laws, however it does not have a written constitution. The closest documents to an Israeli constitution are the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel and Israel’s Law of Return. Its Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel which was signed on May 14, 1948 consists of a two page document which clearly defines Israel as a Jewish state. The document stresses that the sovereign authority in Israel is the Jewish people. Some of the key phrases are: “This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign state.” The Declaration repeatedly uses phrases to emphasize this point: “Jewish people...in its own country,” “Jewish people to rebuild its national home,” “Jewish state,” “right of the Jewish people to establish their state,” “Jewish people in the up building of its state,” “sovereign Jewish people.” Unlike the Israeli Declaration of the Establishment of the state of Israel, the American Declaration of Independence does not establish the United States as a Christian state nor a republic for whites only nor did it appoint the Christians or the whites as the builders of and sovereign in the republic nor did it expropriate property for the exclusive use and benefit of Christians or Whites. For a prolonged period of time, the US adopted and carried out racist laws and practices. But these institutions have been dismantled and such practices have officially ended. The US Declaration of Independence states:
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness—That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Before, during and after the establishment of Israel as a “Jewish state” by largely European Jewish settlers, a substantial majority of indigenous people who are not Jews existed in historical Palestine. This Declaration clearly discriminates against them and bluntly states that Jews and non-Jews are not equal before the law in Israel.
The Declaration makes a clear distinction between Jews, who are the sovereign authority in Israel, and the citizens of the state who are not Jews. The status of non-Jewish citizens of Israel is enforced by laws that favors being Jewish. The laws do not necessarily deny Arabs certain privileges such as citizenship or the right to vote and hold office. Such privileges accorded to non-Jewish citizens of Israel with the explicit recognition and understanding that Israel is a country for the “Jewish people to rebuild its national home.” Even democratic processes or alternatives are not possible under Israel’s existing basic laws.
Israel’s Law of Return, adopted in 1950, states “Every Jew has the right to immigrate to the country.” Once again, people of superior and recent claim to the country are excluded. Even non-Jews who were, for various reasons, uprooted internally were denied their rights to return to their homes and properties and were declared “present absentees”. In Israel, the Palestinian “present absentees” remain absentees forever and their homes and property remain in the possession of Israel’s Custodian of Absentee Property, who puts the property at the disposal and for the benefit of Jews.
Prior to and after the establishment of Israel, certain Israeli private organizations (non-governmental or non-profit) have held quasi-governmental authority over policies and affairs of non-Jews. The Jewish Agency is one of the major organization in this category. The Jewish Agency shares many jurisdictions and overlapping functions with the Israeli government. It describes itself as, “the agency for Jewish interests in Eretz [”the land of’] Israel ...[it’s] role is defined...as a voluntary, philanthropic organization with responsibility for immigration, settlement and development, and coordination of the unity of the Jewish people.” Israel state’s Custodian of Absentee Property hands Arab property to the Jewish Agency. Israeli law allows the Jewish Agency to dispose of Arab property. Jews don’t have their property confiscated as “present absentees” because Jews, unlike Arabs, enjoy the “Right of Return”. Non-Jewish citizens of Israel may be allowed to establish an Arab Agency. However, this agency will not have the quasi-governmental power to dispose of Jewish property for the benefit of non-Jews.
Some other feature of Israel is the law that aims to separate Jews and Arabs on a personal level. For example, a Jew and an Arab cannot legally marry in Israel and such marriages, if performed outside the country, are not recognized under Israeli law.
Section 7 A (I) of the Basic Law of Israel explicitly prevents Israeli citizens Arab or Jewish from using the “democratic” system of Israeli elections to challenge the inferior status of Arabs under the law or the exclusive Jewish character of Israel; it restricts who can run for political office. This law states “A candidates’ list shall not participate in elections to the Knesset if among its goals or deeds, either expressed or implied, are one of the following: (1) the negation of the existence of the State of Israel as the State of the Jewish People. ...” In 1989 Justice S. Levine of the Israeli Supreme Court, speaking for the majority, ruled (reported in the 1991 Israel Law Review, Vol. 25, p. 219, published by the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem) that this law meant that a political party could not run candidates if it intended to achieve the cancellation of one of the fundamental tenets of the State - namely “the existence of a Jewish majority, the granting of preference to Jews in matters of immigration, and the existence of close and reciprocal relations between the State and the Jews of the Diaspora.”
Here are seven basic Israeli laws that discriminate against non-Jews:
Law of Return 5710-1950 Right of aliyah
1. Every Jew has the right to come to this country as an oleh.** Oleh’s visa
2. (a) Aliyah shall be by oleh’s visa.
(b) An oleh’s visa shall be granted to every Jew who has expressed his desire to settle in Israel , unless the Minister of Immigration is satisfied that the applicant
1) is engaged in an activity directed against the Jewish people; or
2) is likely to endanger public health or the security of the State.
3. (a) A Jew who has come to Israel and subsequent to his arrival has expressed his desire to settle in Israel may, while still in Israel, receive an oleh’s certificate.
(b) The restrictions specified in section 2(b) shall apply also to the grant of an oleh’s certificate, but a person shall not be regarded as endangering public health on account of an illness contracted after his arrival in Israel.
4. Every Jew who has immigrated into this country before the coming into force of this Law, and every Jew who was born in this country, whether before or after the coming into force of this Law, shall be deemed to be a person who has come to this country as an oleh under this Law.
2. The 1949 discharged Soldiers (Reinstatement in Employment) Law, amended in 1970 [Laws of the State of Israel, vol. 3, p. 10 (1949) and art. 1, Laws of the State of Israel, vol. 24, p. 126 (1970)], which makes an additional child support payment to ‘soldiers.’ The amendment defined ‘soldier’ as ‘a person who is serving or has served in the Defense Army of Israel, the Police or the Prison Service,’ or who served in one of the Zionist military formations (Haganah, Irgun, or LEHI) prior to the establishment of Israel. Since Israeli citizens who are not Jewish or Druze do not get called to serve in qualifying organizations, and since the qualifying organizations from the past were clearly selected so as to exclude non-Jews, this law gives to Jewish citizens of Israel rights that it denies to non-Jewish non-Druze citizens of Israel.
3. State Education Law, arts 2, 4, Laws of the State of Israel, vol. 7, p. 113 (1953), which says that the purpose of elementary education is to teach ‘the values of Jewish culture’ and ‘loyalty to the State and the Jewish people.’ This purpose covers even ‘non-Jewish educational institutions,’ whose curriculum is prescribed by the minister of education. The state funds an Orthodox Jewish private school system but does not fund schools for other religions, according to Izhak Englard’s “Law and Religion in Israel,” in the American Journal of Comparative Law, vol. 35, p. 201 (1987). This law gives Jewish citizens of Israel the right to have their children educated in conformity with their religion, and denies this right to non-Jewish citizens of Israel.
4. The Jewish Religious Services Budgets Law of 1949 arts, 1-2, Laws of the State of Israel, vol. 3, p. 66 (1949)] and the Jewish Religious Services [consolidated version] Law of 1971 [Laws of the State of Israel, vol. 25, p. 125 (1971)]. These laws call for local religious councils to submit budgets to the minister of religious affairs. The budgets are financed one-third by the central government and two-thirds by the local government.
There are no such statutes for other religions. Israeli citizens who are of the Jewish religion thus are given preferential treatment. The government allocates funds for Muslim and Christian religious services, but at a level far less than their proportion in the population, and without a legislative mandate.
5. Chief Rabbinate of Israel Law arts 2(2), Laws of the State of Israel, vol. 34, p. 97 (1980)] which gives legal status to the chief rabbinate and empowers and obligates it to undertake ‘activities aimed at bringing the public closer to the values of the [Jewish religious learning] and mitzvot [Jewish religious duties]. No other religion has a body with similar legal status, empowerment, or obligations.
6. Specified Goods Tax and Luxury Tax Law [art 26, Laws of the State of Israel, vol. 6, p. 150 (1952)] this law authorized the minister of finance to designate classes of persons for favorable treatment when they bring goods into Israel after residence abroad. Under this authorization, the minister issued the Purchase Tax Order (Exemption) 1975, [Definition 15 (returning resident), Definition 20 (returning national), Collected Regulations] which called for a lower import duty to be collected from a returning national than from a returning resident. The order defined ‘returning national’ to include only a person who, ‘if the person were not an Israeli national the Law of Return would apply to him.’ Thus, only a Jewish citizen of Israel is a returning national with the right to favorable treatment when bringing goods into Israel after residence abroad.
7. Nationality and Entry into Israel Law 5763 passed in 2003 that prevents non-Jews in the Occupied Territory from entering Israel to be with their Israeli citizen spouse.
The above summary should leave no doubt as to the true nature of the sate of Israel: a state that is established of, by, and for Jews. Non- Jews who are the indigenous people of the land are subjected to systematic and institutional discrimination. In this environment, Jews are favored, privileged, and fully involved in the affairs of the Israeli society. Non-Jews are not. Israel’s claim that the state is built on democratic principles and institutions is identical to the claim made by then Apartheid South Africa where being White entitled the person(s) automatically to rights and privileges that are not accorded to non-Whites. Israel is a democracy of Jews, by Jews, and for Jews as Apartheid South Africa was a democracy of Whites, by Whites for Whites!
Is the discriminatory nature of Israel not familiar to the American Government? Was the reality of Apartheid South Africa not familiar to the US Government? On both accounts, the answer is that the American Government was and is fully aware of the discriminatory nature of Apartheid South Africa and Israel. The discriminatory nature and practices of both Apartheid South Africa and Israel are in clear violation of existing American laws. Racists institutions and practices in the United States of America and in Apartheid South Africa have been dismantled. Racist Israel remains standing. The question is why America supports such a regime?
American Support for Israel
The Constitution of the United States of America clearly declares that “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” The phrase “We the people” is universal in nature and scope and encompasses men and women, white and black, Christians and Muslims, rich and poor, etc.. This interpretation of the phrase was not put into practice by the founding fathers of the republic. In my opinion, the intent and hope of some of the founding fathers is that the US will evolve and keep changing to achieve “a more perfect union” by providing ways and means in the constitution to encourage and achieve such transformation. Israeli Basic laws do not allow for such transformation to be achieved.
The Constitution further states that the “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” This prohibition is iron clad and requires the US government to cease and desist from establishing or aiding in the establishment of state religion or a state run by any religion inside and outside of the United States of America. In addition, the Constitution of the United States allows for a process to change, amend, and challenge the political system. This simply means that what was permissible in years past can be changed such as disfranchisement of women, blacks, non-property owners, slavery, etc. What was unthinkable 50 years ago is a reality in today’s America: Barak Obama. The Israeli system on the other hand does not allow for transition or change. It does not permit a Samir Abed-Rabbo who was born in Jerusalem but who is not Jewish to become the President or the prime Minister of Israel. The Israeli system has to be dismantled as in the case of the institution of slavery in America and the Apartheid South Africa.
It has been repeatedly argued that there is an affinity between the American and Israeli political systems. This argument has no basis in fact. Both systems are inherently the opposite. If this is the case, then why is the US government steadfastly and enthusiastically involved in the establishment of a “Jewish state” in Palestine for the exclusive benefits of the Jews? The answer is a syndrome coined by George Washington, the first American president who called it the “passionate attachment”. President Washington warned us of the "evils" produced by the "passionate attachment" of one country for another. The evil of the American-Israeli relationship is when, to borrow President Washington's analysis, Americans "betray" and "sacrifice" the national interest out of a perception of "virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption or infatuation." Those who dare to speak out or work against the "passionate attachment", according to President Washington, "are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests." This explains precisely why in America today the supporters of this relationship hypocritically sing the praises of a "democratic Israel", their victims become the terrorists and Israel, the violator of domestic and international laws and obligations, is rewarded with billions of our tax dollars and the military tools to maintain its racist policies and practices.
American recognition of and support for a Jewish state was forthcoming minutes after Israel was declared independent by Jews in Palestine in 1948. Initially, this support was derived from US desire to settle Jewish refugees, displaced persons. and survivors of the Nazi holocaust. Instead of settling such persons in vast and population starved America, the US succumbed to the Zionist political plan of settling Jews in Palestine and to establishing Israel on its ruins. Support for Israel grew among the American Jewish community and a significant segment of the Christian community. The rationale for the support of American Jews is predictable coming in the aftermath of the holocaust. However, the motivation for the support of American Christians for Israel is based on, once again, biblical convictions: some Evangelical Christians see the establishment of Greater Israel as a sign for the second coming of Christ and the harbinger for Armageddon where approximately 86,000 people may survive and the blood of those who do not subscribe to their version of theology (including Jews) will flow to the knees. The Holocaust revisited! This significant domestic American support has been augmented by a general identification with Israel as a “democratic” society; and shared strategic goals in the Middle East. This shared goal is aiding and maintaining ineffectual, tyrannical, corrupt, and inept Arab regimes. The other undeclared reason for American support of Israel is the US government’s contempt for Arab national aspirations for unity, freedom, independence, accountability and transparency.
American military support for Israel has transformed its military into one of the most technologically sophisticated militaries in the world. American aid has been designed to maintain the Middle Eastern balance of power in Israel’s favor. US aid has subsidized and helped Israel develop and build an advanced arm industry that is ranked among the world’s top ten suppliers of weapons. The American economic aid has played a similar purpose. Up to the early 1990’s, US economic aid has stimulated and subsidized the lackluster Israeli economy. Starting in the 1990’s, the US and Israel entered into scientific cooperation to build Israel’s hi-tech sector. As a result, Israel is now considered a fully industrialized state with an economy on par with Western European countries.
American aid to Israel is channeled through various means, but two are of importance to us as taxpayers. First of all, direct aid offered by the United States Government and, secondly, indirect aid emanating from American institutions, organizations, companies and individuals. Israel is an advanced, industrialized and technologically developed state. The World Bank places Israel among the top 50 richest states in terms of per capita income. It enjoys one of the world's higher per capita incomes of $14,000.
The U.S. Government is the largest donor to Israel. Since its establishment in 1948 to the present, the United States has provided Israel with a largess of approximately $125 billion in direct military and economic aid. American economic aid to Israel between 1949- 2009 totaled approximately $32 billion and military aid totaled $$91,555.23 billion. Unlike other recipients of American aid, Israel receives its share within 30 days from the enactment of the bill. For FY 2006-2008 the US provided Israel with the amount of $426 million its Missile systems. For FY 2000-2008 the US provided Israel with the amount of $420 million for the settlement of Jewish refugees. For FY 2003-2010 the US made Guaranteed Loans for economic recovery available to Israel in the amount of $11 billion. U.S. indirect aid to Israel, for the same period, is estimated at more than $60 billion. In recent years, annual direct aid exceeds $2.5 billion and indirect aid totals $1.5 billion, of which $1 billion comes through tax-deduction donations and $500 million from the sales of Israeli bonds. The indirect aid is the total of the donations provided by private institutions, individuals and the proceeds from the sale of Israeli Bonds. Israel is the only government in the world that receives American tax-deductible donations. In addition, Israel obtains an estimated $1 billion annually in short and long term commercial loans from American banks.
Israel’s lobby and its domestic supporters make certain that America’s aid to Israel keeps flowing. American domestic supporters consist of an amalgam of strange bed fellows: professional politicians who need the organizational and financial backing of Israel’s supporters; the potent and valuable support of the well organized and well positioned American Jewish community and its unconditional commitment to maintaining an exclusive Jewish state in Palestine; and the ever increasing power of the Christian evangelical right on the American political scene. The evangelical right believes in establishing Israel in all of Palestine and in gathering all Jews in Israel. Each group, for its own reasons, pours their resources to keep and increase the levels of America’s support for Israel. Evidence exists that the collaboration between Israel, the established American Jewish community and the Christian evangelical right is giving rise to anti -Islamic frenzy in the United States. Is this the beginning of the war between civilizations? Is America’s aid to Israel designed to hasten the second coming?
Since 1948, the US has been the main supplier of Israel’s military equipment and its lone diplomatic and economic backer. Without American support, Israel would not have been able to maintain its current economic and military posture. Israel possesses approximately 500 nuclear warheads, in addition to an arsenal of chemical and biological weapons. Israel is ranked as the 4th military power in the world. By law, the 1952 US Mutual Defense Agreement and subsequent arms agreement between the US and Israel limit the use of American supplied equipment to “legitimate self defense”. Also, the US Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, section 116 states “No assistance may be provided under this part to the government of any country which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, including torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons or other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, and the security of persons, unless such assistance will directly benefit the needy people in such country.”
American money is enabling Israel to maintain its occupation of Arab lands, violating the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, killing innocent civilians and destroying their properties and ignoring all United Nations Resolutions that are calling on Israel to live and abide by International Law. American financial support subsidizes and enables Israel to build colonies and settle its citizens in Arab occupied lands- activities that are considered war crimes. American support maintains the archaic racist governmental structure and funds its brutal practices. Certainly, US aid to is not used for legitimate self defense nor for benefiting the needy in that country.
Three examples to illustrate the brutality of Israel practices:
From Sept. 28, 2000 to March 1, 2004, Israel under Prime Ministers Sharon, Olmert, and Netanyahu has been waging a relentless war against the civilian population of Palestine and the peace process. Until March 1, 2004, Israel killed 2,859 Palestinians (82% civilians); injured 41,000 Palestinians (2,500 with permanent disabilities); destroyed and damaged 12,273 homes (including 12 churches and 30 mosques); uprooted 34,606 olive and fruit trees; bulldozed, razed or burned 7,585 acres of cultivated land; and confiscated 291 acres of Palestinian land for the exclusive use by Jewish settlers. In addition, Israel attacked hospitals, clinics, ambulances and medical staff; hindered and attacked journalists; imposed partial and total curfews on Palestinian towns and cities as a form of collective punishment; detained approximately 15,000 Palestinians without charge; disrupted, raided and closed Palestinian colleges and schools; and disrupted and damaged the economic infrastructure of Palestine causing the loss of approximately $3.2-10 billion.
On July 13, 2006 Israel, under the leadership of Olmert, Livni and Barak attacked Lebanon in which the Israeli Air Force launched more than 12,000 attack mission; the Israeli Navy fired more than 2,500 shells; and the Army fired over 100,000 shells. As a result, large parts of the civilian infrastructure of Lebanon were destroyed including more than 400 miles of roads, 73 bridges, and 31 other civilian targets including the Beirut’s International Airport, ports, water and sewage treatment plants, electrical grids and facilities, 25 fuel stations, 900 commercial structures, more than 350 schools, two hospitals, 15,000 homes were destroyed and more than 130,000 more damaged. On July 15, 2006, the Israeli Air Force bombed the Jiyeh power station, resulting in the largest ever oil spill in the Mediterranean Sea.The plant's damaged storage tanks leaked more than 4 million gallons of oil into the eastern Mediterranean. Israeli bombing also caused significant damage to the world heritage sites of Tyre and Byblos. In Tyre, a Roman tomb was damaged and a fresco near the centre of the site collapsed. In Byblos, a medieval tower was damaged and Venetian period remains near the harbour were dramatically stained by the oil slick and were considered to be difficult to clean. Damage was also caused to remains at Bint Jbeil and Chamaa, and to the Temple of Bacchus in Baalbek. The attack resulted in a huge financial setback for Lebanon in the amount of $5 Billion or approximately 22% of GDP. The Lebanese top police office and the Lebanon Ministry of Health, citing hospitals, death certificates, local authorities, and eye witnesses, put the death toll at 1,123 of whom 37 soldiers and police officers, 894 identified civilian victims, and 192 unidentified ones. The Lebanon Higher Relief Council estimated the number of Lebanese injured to be 4,409 of whom 15% was permanently disabled. The death toll does not include Lebanese killed since the end of fighting by land mines or unexploded Israeli cluster bombs. As of April 2007 the number of Lebanese killed was 29 and wounded 215—90 of them children.
On December 27, 2008 Israel under the same leadership waged a criminal war against the civilian population of Gaza. The total area of 360 square kilometers with a population of 1,500,202 was subjected to sustained ground, sea, and air Israeli military attack. No safe haven or bomb shelters existed for the civilian population of Gaza. The Israeli air force carried 2,360 air sorties dropping bunker buster bombs and white phosphorus bombs in densely populated civilian areas. Before the ground invasion began, Israeli artillery bombarded the coastal strip which is considered the most heavily populated area in the world. More than 400,000 Palestinians were left without running water; 1,370 Palestinians were killed and thousands more injured; and 4,000 buildings were ruined. Damage to Palestinian economic infrastructure is being tallied.
The above three examples are just the tip of the iceberg of Israel’s brutality and criminality since its inception in 1948.
Even if the US is to move to end Israel racial policies and curtail Israeli brutal practices, Israel politicians have taken certain measures to resist. As early as 1956 Francis Perrin, the father of the French nuclear bomb and a major collaborator in establishing Israel's nuclear program, wrote "We thought the Israeli Bomb was aimed at the Americans, not to launch it at the Americans, but to say: 'if you don't want to help us in a critical situation we will require you to help us. Otherwise, we will use our nuclear bombs"'. Simha Dinitz, Israel's Ambassador to Washington during the Middle Eastern war of 1973, said, "If a massive airlift to Israel does not start immediately, then I will know that the U.S. is reneging on its promises and... we will draw very serious conclusions. . ." The ambassador's veiled threat for the use of weapons of mass destruction to reverse Israel's misfortunes on the battlefield did not fall on deaf ears. President Nixon and Secretary of State Kissinger ordered a massive airlift to aid Israel in the war.
Within 3 years, Israel has escalated its genocidal war against the civilian people of Palestine and Lebanon, their properties and economic infrastructure. Entire refugee camps, towns and sections of cities have been destroyed by American supplied weapon systems. Hundreds of civilians have been killed in the most gruesome and despicable ways; entire families have been buried under the rubble of their homes by Israeli army bulldozers that are manufactured by Caterpillar and paid for by American taxpayers; civilian residents have been shelled by Israeli missiles and tank fire; Palestinian leaders and prisoners have been assassinated; and 15,000 civilians have been detained without charge. In return, the US announced a military aid package for Israel totaling $30 billion for 10 years. Are these actions conducive to achieve peaceful and structural changes in Israel/Palestine or a recipe for prolonged conflict?
The US government is making sure that Israel’s war machine is well financed by our tax money and equipped with the best of US military weapons while American children sleep hungry and lack health care and insurance.
This passionate attachment is an affront, a burden and a liability on America. Israel’s structure, laws, policies, and practices are in violation of the American constitution, laws and mores. The continuation of this relationship is a harbinger for more Israeli brutality and oppression. Working for ending racism and brutality will usher in justice, peace and tranquility for the region and the world. This is the choice that America and the world should pursue and accomplish.
Regardless of the rationale for American aid to Israel, American support helps Israel maintain its racist character, aggressive posture and its violations of international law. The amount and intensity of American assistance signify an active American partnership with Israel against the aspirations of the people in the region for self determination, justice, peace, and development. By alienating the Arab and Muslim peoples, America is exacerbating and fermenting conditions that are ripe for social upheaval- the intensity of which threatens to engulf the region and impact US interests worldwide.
Israel’s supporters in the US should not be permitted to achieve their goal of igniting a clash of civilizations emanating from the region. Continuous war will not provide a tranquil place for the second coming of Christ, nor for justice, hope, and peace for the people of the region. The region needs a vision that values human dignity, equality, and justice for all, instead of aircrafts, bombs, and bullets.
America can no longer hide its involvement in the region under the guise of worn out ideas. People in the region are watching and weighing America’s every move. If history is a guide, Americans should not underestimate the damage that disenfranchised and alienated individuals, groups, and countries could bring to bear.
* This article is dedicated to Ayah in appreciation for her enthusiastic support and devotion.Dr. Samir Abed-Rabbo teaches US Government and the author/editor of several books and articles on US Aid to Israel, Palestine, Zionism, International Law and Islam. From 1995-8 he served as the Dean of The Jerusalem Scool of Economics and Diplomacy.
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