The US Should Double Military Aid To Israel
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Context & Opposition Line
Under the status quo, Israel is set to receive USD 2.775 billion in military aid from the United States in 2010 alone. This is geared towards bringing the total amount of aid to Israel to $30 billion dollars in the coming decade.[[http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3821976,00.html]] Israel has been the largest annual recipient of US Foreign Assistance since 1976 and is the largest cumulative recipient since WWII.[[http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=15772]] Other nations' military aid packages are much lower at an average of around 400 million [[http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL32260.pdf]] and some are even being reevaluated (Lebanon's was halted altogether recently [[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/josh-ruebner/us-cant-afford-military-a_b_478104.html]]) The proposition believes that the already unprecedented amount of aid to Israel needs to be doubled without any solid justification as of yet on the necessity of receiving close to $6 billion annually in military aid. We strongly believe that this is not in the best interest of peace.
The justification of Israel receiving large amounts of military aid from the US has been framed as protection against Israel's 'uniquely dangerous' position in the Middle East and support for a stable democracy. The opposition stands on the ground that doubling military aid will corrupt this justification by showing you the harms of bringing about this plan towards the United States, Israel and its people and the region as a whole. We believe that to double the military aid will not only exacerbate the multitude problems of the status quo but also create new problems that cannot be accounted for.
Increases in aid a roadblock to peace
We on side opposition believe that any action by the United States government toward Israel should be done with the ultimate goal being peaceful relations between the Israelis and the Palestinans; however, the history of the IDF shows increases in military aid appears to undermine that goal. Common sense seems to support the idea that a nation with a strong military such as Israel's would act more aggressively and defiantly in their foreign policy – and this seems like an apt description of recent Israeli foreign policy, especially taken in the context of the likely end of their freeze in building settlements in East Jerusalem.[[http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/27/AR2010072704283.html]] Their plans for settlements are viewed by many governments as in violation of Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Conventions (but were defended by Israel as not technically applying)[[http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/1682640.stm]] , and were also viewed to have damaged potential peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians in 2010[[http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8660471.stm]].
The history of defiance for Israel runs much deeper than the settlement crisis; the use of white phosphorous by the IDF during the 2008 Gaza invasion has been condemned by human rights organizations as a war crime[[http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/25/israel-white-phosphorus-gaza]], and the IDF has also used US military aid multiple times for purposes other than self-defense, a violation of multiple US laws regulating military aid[[http://www.policyalmanac.org/world/archive/crs_israeli-us_relations.shtml]]. These incidents have damaged in US/Israeli relations, but has resulted in no reduction in aid.
If peace in the region is ultimately the goal, making a strong IDF even stronger without any check on the legality of their actions in the context of law only creates a further setback to peace in the region.
The United States is, quite simply, not in a position to waste an additional USD 3 billion on pumping money into an already strong Israeli defence industry when money is in short supply at home. Obama pledged in his State of the Union address to "go through the budget line by line to eliminate programs that we can't afford and don't work" because the financial crisis hit the economy so very hard. Reports show that the current amount of money given to Israel could be used to provide more than 364,000 low-income households with affordable housing vouchers, or retrain 498,000 workers for green jobs, or create early reading programs to 887,000 at-risk students, or grant access to primary health care services for more than 24 million uninsured Americans. The proposition proposes to double these numbers for an undisclosed period of time, and we on opposition are strongly against this massive misallocation of desperately needed resources. [[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/josh-ruebner/us-cant-afford-military-a_b_478104.html]] At a time when rising health care cost is the leading cause of foreclosure in the United States [[http://billjaquette.net/1-cause-of-foreclosure-in-the-us-attributable-to-healthcare-costs/]] a responsible US government can ill afford to allocate funds to an already thriving defence industry when the money could be put to better use.
Pumping Iron to an Aggressor
Israel has always had special ties with the United States; however, the US should not ignore the geopolitical realities of today by clinging to the past. The Israeli defence industry is extremely well developed - in addition to having nuclear weapons, it is one of the largest conventional arms exporters in the world with exports upwards of USD 4.1billion. It has been awarded tenders by international arms industry powerhouses like Russia. There are approximately 150 defence firms in Israel with combined revenues of an estimated $3.5 billion.[[http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/israel/industry.htm]] The country has developed its indigenous main battle tank, the Merkava, which is acknowledged to be one the best in the world. It is at the moment supplying UAV's to Russia and Turkey and AWACS to India; these are some of the most sophisticated pieces of military equipment around. It has sold advanced missiles to China, based on US technology given to help develop its own missiles. [[http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=4478932]] It has the most powerful army in the Middle East and is capable of meeting its defence needs without further subsidies from US taxpayers.
Because of this, much of the aid it receives from the US actually goes towards aggression rather than self defence. Israel repeatedly misuses U.S. weapons to commit grave human rights abuses against Palestinians who are forced to live under its illegal 42-year military occupation of the West Bank. In Bush's time, Israel killed at least 3,107 innocent Palestinian civilians and destroyed billions of dollars of Palestinian civilian infrastructure; the severity and scale of the damage was made possible only by hi-tech American equipment.[[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/josh-ruebner/us-cant-afford-military-a_b_478104.html]] Will additional military funding equivalent to the size of the 150 defence firms to Israel contribute to peace in the region? We, on opposition, think not.
What do you think?