has given Israel since 1948 and it gets higher everyday.
Now is the time to speak out and demand that money
get spent on poor Americans not for
the blood of Palestinians!
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Palestine Monitor factsheet
US aid to Israel
“Israel has no more loyal friend than the
United States. We couldn’t have done it
without her” Yitzhak Rabin
- Israel and the US have a long-established special
relationship. The US was the first country to
recognise the establishment of the State of
Israel in 1948.
- Israel is considered America’s closest non-NATO ally
in the Middle East, a region that is geopolitically
crucial to the US.
- The close relationship between the two states is
reflected in the volume of aid Israel receives from
the US. Since World War II Israel has been the
largest overall recipient of US aid: from 1949-2006
Israel received more than $156 billion of direct US aid.
- Until 2003, Israel received approximately
one-third of the annual US foreign aid budget.
In 2005, the US gave Israel more than $2.6 billion
in aid, a budget exceeded only by US aid to Iraq.
By comparison, Jordan received $683.6 million,
Rwanda received $77 million, and the Occupied
Palestinian Territories received $348.2 million.
- In the past, a majority of the direct US aid to Israel
was via US Economic Support Funds (ESF). The
US publicly states that ESF are given in order to
support stability in areas strategic to the US.
However, the recipient government completely
controls how it spends these funds.
- The US also lends money to Israel, but these loans are
frequently waived before any repayments are made.
The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs has
estimated that from 1974-2003 Israel benefited from
more than $45 billion in waived loans from the US.
- Direct US aid to Israel has significantly diminished
since 1996 in order to reduce Israeli financial
dependence on the US. Speaking to the US Congress
in July 1996, Former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu declared, “We will begin the long-term process
of gradually reducing the level of your generous economic
assistance to Israel.”
- The US has a history of giving Israel direct political
support. In 1972, the US prevented the adoption of
UN resolution S/10784 paragraph 74, which
condemned Israeli attacks against southern
Lebanon and Syria. In order to do this, the US
used its veto power in the Security Council for
only the second time.
- Since 1972, the US has used its veto power to prevent
the adoption of 42 UN resolutions that condemned
or severely criticized actions by the State of Israel.
In 2006, for example, the US prevented the adoption
of UN resolution S/878, which demanded a mutual
ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
- In 2002, former US Ambassador to the United
Nations, John Negroponte, stated that it was US
policy to denounce all UN resolutions that
criticized Israel without also condemning
“terrorist groups.” This statement is now known
as the Negroponte-doctrine.
A line of Ameican-made Israeli F 15
fighter jets at an Israeli Air Force base
- Whilst US economic aid to Israel has diminished in the
last ten years, the level of US military support to Israel
has substantially increased.
This includes financial military aid.
- Israel’s military superiority is largely dependent on
various forms of direct US support, including
financial military aid and donations, weapons
deliveries and technological support.
- Between 1996 and 2006, Israel received $24 billion
in financial military aid from the US.
- The major financial mechanism for military aid from
the US to Israel is Foreign Military Financing (FMF).
These grants are given to foreign governments in order
for them to buy US-manufactured weapons systems.
Approximately 50% of the current FMF budget is
designated to Israel. Israel has also been granted
the privilege of spending 26.3% of its allocation,
an unusually high percentage, on buying weapons
produced by Israeli arms manufacturers.
- Economic Support Funds
(ESF – see previous reference) are not specifically
designated for military use. But as governments
are unaccountable as to how they spend this money,
ESF can also be considered indirect military aid.
- In August 2007, a new Memorandum of Understanding
(MOU) on military aid was signed between Israel and
the US. This MOU guarantees Israel $30 billion in
military aid via FMF over the next decade.
- As the closest US ally in the Middle East, Israel has
privileged access to US military technology. Israeli
research and development of weapons systems is
often co-financed by the US. Joint military projects
have been set up, such as the development of the
Arrow Missile System, which has been
operational since 2000.
- Israel values its relationship with the US,
but nonetheless has exported US military
technology to China against the interests of the
US. Military equipment is one of Israel’s most
important export products, with a net estimated
value of $4.4 billion in 2006.
- For China, Israel is a backdoor to access
advanced western military technology. For
example, in 1996 Israel exported the
US Airborne Early Warning (AEW) system to China,
and, in 2005 attempted to sell China the
Harpy Killer anti-radar system.
Israel is a Nuclear Power
- Although never officially confirmed by either Israel or
the US, it is widely known that Israel has developed
nuclear weapons. In 1986, Mordechai Vanunu exposed
Israel’s nuclear program. (see below)
- The number of Israeli nuclear bombs produced
in the Dimona nuclear research centre in the
Negev Desert is estimated at 200.
- Israel has never signed the 1968
Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty.
- Both the US and Israel have an unofficial
policy of silence regarding Israel’s nuclear
- Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert confirmed that
Israel possesses nuclear weapons in a 12 December
2006 interview with the German TV channel Sat.1.
He said that Iran aspires “to have nuclear weapons,
as America, France, Israel and Russia”.
US aid to Israel violates US laws
- US aid to Israel, and the way in which this aid
is used, frequently violates US law, policy and
- Under US policy, financial aid to Israel should
not be spent by Israel in the Occupied Territories.
But Israel spends US aid with impunity.
- The US has a number of laws regulating foreign
military aid and weapons’ exports. The 1961
Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) states that
“No assistance [ought to be given] to countries
that violate human rights”. But Israel
systematically violates human rights in the
Occupied Palestinian Territories.
- The 1976 US Arms Export Control Act (AECA) states
that “Weapons purchased from the US should only be
used for legitimate self-defense”. But since September
2000 the Israeli military has killed more than 3,354
Palestinian civilians (as of 8 August 2007).
The Vanunu case at a glance
- Front page of the British
- ‘Sunday Times’ on October 5,
- 1986: “Revealed: the secrets of Israel’s nuclear arsenal.”
In 1986, Israeli nuclear technician
Mordechai Vanunu leaked
photographs about Israel’s nuclear
program to the British Sunday
Times newspaper. Whilst in London
exposing Israel’s nuclear industry,
Vanunu was invited to Rome by an
undercover female Mossad agent.
- Poster for the
- liberation of Vanunu. An international solidarity campaign began after his abduction in 1986.
When he arrived in Italy he was
kidnapped by Mossad and taken
back to Israel for trial. In 1988,
Vanunu was sentenced to
18 years in prison.
He endured more
than 11 years of solitary
confinement before being released
He remains under house arrest.
- Factsheet: US aid to Israel (for screen reading)
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