American citizens help finance the destruction and reconstruction of Gaza
About a month ago, Hamas started firing rockets into Israel in response to the Israeli military arresting hundreds of Palestinians and Hamas officials in the West Bank. Up to a dozen Palestinians were killed in the sweep. Since then, all-out war has broken out in the Gaza Strip.
So far, more than 1,800 Palestinians have been killed (75-80% civilians) and another 9,000 have been wounded. On the Israeli side, 66 people have been killed, mainly soldiers, with dozens more wounded.
Last week the American Congress approved $225 million in emergency funding for Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile defense system. The Israelis are running out of missiles. To no one’s surprise, the bill passed 395-8 vote, several hours after the Senate passed it unanimously.
The Iron Dome has been instrumental in knocking Hamas rockets out of the sky before they land in Israel, significantly reducing Israeli civilian casualties. The emergency funding comes in addition to the $3.1 billion of military aid the American tax payer gives to Israel every year.
Of the $3.1 billion, about $800 million of it finances Israeli manufacturing of weaponry and military products. The rest funds what is in actual fact a free gift the Israeli military uses to acquire arms and military equipment from American military contractors.
It’s safe to say that every unit in the Israeli army benefits from this assistance, including those currently fighting in Gaza. In a way, Gaza’s destruction (as well as Israel’s defence) has a certain “Made in America” label attached to it. A fact not lost on Palestinians.
A couple weeks ago, the state department announced it would be providing $47 million in humanitarian relief to Gaza. A third of these funds will go to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
UNRWA provides assistance and protection for some five million Palestinian refugees. In Gaza today, it is currently operating 67 shelters for 84,000 Palestinians, providing food, water, mattresses and blankets. The United States is UNRWA’s largest donor having given $265 million this year alone.
According to UNRWA, more than 75 of its facilities in Gaza, including schools and warehouses have been damaged in the fighting so far. Nine of its staff members have also been killed. It’s safe to say that American dollars will be prominent in the repairs.
American tax payers are basically paying for Israel’s weapons of mass destruction and flipping the bill for the clean-up that follows their use. I look at it as a rich man who gives a bully ten dollars to beat up some poor schmuck, then buys the victim a Band-Aid. How noble. I wonder how Palestinians see it.
Yet we all still look to the United States as brokers for peace, even as they try and be both Wreck-it Ralph and Fix-it Felix. If the United States was serious about peace, Ralph would not be in the game.
It’s true that 95% of Israel’s weapons come from America, but the American tax payer shouldn’t be paying for 1/5 of it. The Israeli Military Budget is close to $15 billion. If the $3.1 billion America provides was suddenly taken away, Israel would still be the super power of the Middle East. The only nuclear armed nation in the region as well (common knowledge that Israel still refuses to admit.)
War is big business in the United States, and for that reason the US will never be taken seriously at the negotiating table. However, the least they can do is stop the destruction in the name of the American tax payer.