For all the chatter about animosity between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Washington Post reports that “a senior Israeli official will arrive in Washington next week for a final round of negotiations involving the largest military aid package the United States has ever given any country and that will last more than a decade after President Obama leaves office.” The US already transfers $3.1 billion in taxpayer money every year to Israel — more than any other country by far — but the new agreement Obama is set to sign “significantly raises” that amount, and guarantees it for 10 years.
In response to this massive windfall, Netanyahu is angry that he is not getting even more. For some time, “Netanyahu was holding out for as much as $5 billion a year.” Also, Israel has been opposed to efforts to direct more of that aid to US military contractors rather than Israeli ones (so this “aid” package is as much a transfer of US taxpayer money to weapons manufacturers in both countries as it is to Israel itself). Moreover, “Israelis are also said to be displeased with a US position that whatever amount of money they agree on will be final and that Israel will not go to Congress requesting more money.”
Usually, when someone hands you billions of dollars in aid, you’re not in much of a position to demand more. But the rules for Israel when it comes to US policy, as is so often the case, are simply different. Even as Israel has aggressively expanded settlements of the West Bank (often in a way designed to most humiliate the US) and slaughtered civilians in Gaza, US aid simply increases more and more. What’s particularly fascinating about all of this is that Netanyahu originally intended to wait until the “next administration” to finalize the deal — because, assuming that would be Hillary Clinton, he believed (with good reason) he would get an even better deal — but is now worried about an “unpredictable” Donald Trump, who has spouted standard pro-Israel rhetoric before AIPAC (and worse) but had previously espoused the need for “neutrality” on the Israel/Palestine question and has made “America First” the rhetorical centerpiece of his campaign.
All of this means that the US generally, and Democrats specifically, bear direct responsibility for the hideous brutality and oppression imposed by Israel on Palestinians through decades of occupation. That’s because, as a 2012 Congressional Resources Service report documented, “Almost all US aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance. US military aid has helped transform Israel’s armed forces into one of the most technologically sophisticated militaries in the world. US military aid for Israel has been designed to maintain Israel’s ‘qualitative military edge’ over neighboring militaries.” And, of course, Clinton herself vowed in a letter to Democratic Party billionaire funder Haim Saban and her speech to AIPAC to do everything possible to oppose a boycott of Israel in order to end the occupation.
Fair Use excerpt. Read the full article at the Intercept.