US military aid to Israel fosters war crimes

The $38 billion military aid to Israel sustains war in Gaza and settler-colonialism in West Bank.

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US military aid to Israel fosters war crimes

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Justin Yun, Writer

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When Washington provides military aid to Israel, the United States is complicit in war crimes and the systematic destruction of the Palestinian people. The United States officially signed the “single largest pledge of bilateral military assistance in U.S. history,” according to the State department. The U.S. will provide Israel with an unprecedented $38 billion military aid package over a 10-year period, which includes $5 billion in missile defense. The strengthening of the American and Israeli war industries and the maintenance of the current balance of power of the Middle East is expected, but it is still morally reprehensible.

A Seven Billion Dollar Shortfall

The $38 billion military aid is a shortfall from the $45 billion package Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu originally asked for. The current military aid also establishes certain limitations — including the agreement that Israel cannot ask the U.S. for more money during the 10-year period. According to Haaretz, Israel “will have to spend all its American aid money on purchases from U.S. military industries” — a change from when Israel previously allowed to use its American aid money on its own military industries.

According to Stephen R. Shalom, a professor at William Paterson University, the new military aid will support Israel’s war crimes — including the systematic destruction of the Gaza Strip and the settler-colonization of the West Bank. Israel’s conduct is morally unacceptable and a violation of international law. The American military support of Israel is also a breach of the Leahy Law which states, “No assistance shall be furnished… to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.”

Reporter Ryan McNamara wrote in Jacobin Magazine on how “in just one 24-hour period during negotiations over the new aid package, Israel bombed Gaza and announced new settlements in the West Bank city of Hebron. How can the Palestinians — who have no air force, command and control, missile defense and tanks — defend themselves from one of the world’s most advanced military?

Over 2,000 Dead

As investigative journalist Max Blumenthal reported two years ago during Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s 51-day bombing campaign in the Gaza Strip left over 2,000 Palestinians dead — including over 500 children. Like all wars, women and children tend to be the victims who suffer the most. When Israel deliberately turns off its electricity to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the middle of winter “as punishment for joining the [International Criminal Court]” and restricts access to drinking water, they are harming women and children. When Israel calculates a “calorie count” to starve Palestinians during a blockade, this has little to do with Hamas. As Shalom points out, “After all, you don’t need fifth-generation stealth technology to blow up civilian houses in the Gaza Strip” — the most densely populated area in the world.

It is time for the United States to drop its military support for Israel now. This is a relationship strictly defined by American hegemonic and geopolitical interests — and it is literally killing people. The only way this will become possible is if the American people stands in solidarity with Palestinians by pressuring the government to stop its endorsement of Israel’s actions. Israel has already received $125 billion in aid from the United States since World War II. As Christians, we say no more to war and violence.

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