What American Aid to Israel Buys

Can the US afford to build Israel an island?

It is no secret that Israel receives substantial aid from the United States. The country receives more aid from the US per year than any other country, totally more than $3 billion per year. For the past 20 years, the US has changed most of its aid from economic to military – in 2008, Israel stopped receiving bilateral economic aid, though this was replaced by increased military aid. In 2007, President Bush announced an increase in military aid to Israel, to the tune of $6 billion more over 10 years. In 2012, the United States will send $3.09 billion, or some $8.5 million per day. Indeed, US aid to Israel is the equivalent of a $500 direct subsidy to each Israeli citizen. Moreover, US allows Israel to spend 25% of the military aid on goods from Israeli manufactures (typically, aid recipients can only purchase American). This has lead to the Israeli arms industry to flourish: “Between 2001 an 2008, it was the 7th largest arms supplier to the world with sales worth a total of 9.9 billion.”

By providing military aid, the US is allowing Israel to direct funds to other sectors and projects. Thus, indirectly, the US funds the Israeli settlements and funds the occupation. Yet the US continues to send dollars it does not have to a country with a fully industrialized economy that is, in scope, similar to South Korea or Spain.

And what is Israel planning to do with the money? Apparently, turn into the Dubai of the Mediterranean. The Guardian is reporting that Israel is planning on building an artificial island off of the coast of Gaza that will cost over $10 billion dollars over 10 years. Ostensibly, the island would be under international control for 100 years and would “relieve Israel of the obligation to be the transit point for goods into the enclave.” In other words, instead of ending the siege on Gaza, Israel will build an environmental nightmare costing (the US) $10 billion.

Is this really happening?

The spokesman for the PA, Ghassan Khatib, said that the proposed island is crazy:

“This is pure fantasy and it is not the concern of Israel. If they want to help Palestinians, they must end the siege on Gaza, and allow the reintegration of the West Bank and Gaza and the establishment of a Palestinian state. Then they are welcome to make proposals.”

Environmentally, creating an artificial island would devastate the entire Israeli/Palestinian coast. Gidon Bromberg, director of Friends of the Earth Middle East, was hardly supportive:

“This sort of thing makes no sense whatsoever,” he said. “The environmental implications would be felt along the coast of Gaza and Israel. Even the building of a marina caused a two-mile scar of beach erosion in Israel which the developer’s planning had not predicted. The public should be very sceptical.”

So, just to reiterate the plan, American gives Israel money that America needs and Israel doesn’t. Israel build a fake island that devastates the environment along the entire Mediterranean coast. Meanwhile there are no plans to lift the siege that has crippled Gaza.

Oh and for the record: the US deficit in 2010 was $1.3 trillion and its cumulative debt has reached over $14 trillion (a debt of $45,000 per person). And don’t worry, the Palestinians received about $500 million in 2010 (one sixth of that given to Israel…)

Photo from David Duke

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