Fifteen years ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a speech at the United Nations about becoming financially independent from the United States. For a young nation such as Israel, it was the country’s equivalent of saying to your parents (and your parent’s friends, given the U.N. setting), “Hey, I think it’s about time I moved out and got my own place. Put the car insurance in my name. I got it from here.”
Arguably, everyone present at the U.N. in 1997 probably patted Israel on the back and said “well done” and “good job” and “one word: plastics” — it was a pretty bold move at the time. The thing is, though…
… Israel still hasn’t moved on.
In fact, the United States is paying between $2.5 to $3.4 billion a year to Israel in unspecified “aid” — while the country itself is making around $250 billion a year GDP. Losing 1% of their GDP a year would hardly put that much of a dent into Israeli savings.
The U.S. funds that are sent to Israel are more of a note of influence than anything else; much the same as giving someone $40 every week to keep being your friend. The money was supposed to do that anyway, but seems to, above all, just be extra money for the Israeli government to f*ck over Palestinians. Israel keeps building settlements within the Palestinian states and keeps antagonizing the people. Call the situation there what you will — a total political and religious clusterf*ck might be the most apt description — but you have to admit that Israel most definitely holds a much larger influence over Palestine than the other way around. This is largely due to the amount of money Israel makes and the fact that they’re systematically cutting off Palestine and its peoples from the rest of the world. It’s as if Israel, the young country that it is, takes the money given to it and just spends it on cigarettes. They’re not putting the money we give them to good use — they’re using it to make the lives of a race of people much worse. That’s a plain and simple fact.
Is it the fault of an entire nation? No. Rather, the fault of a systematic and bureaucratic failure where both the U.S. and Israel are too chummy with each other to take a definitive stand, and when they do finally take a definitive stand, the other side gets catty and the issue falls to the floor in a heap of apology and hand-wringing. When John Kerry appeared on both Israeli and Palestinian state TV on Nov. 6 to address the problem, he stated that the so-called settlements that Israel keeps popping up in Palestinian land …
“… are illegitimate. And we believe that the entire peace process would in fact be easier if these settlements were not taking place.… if you say [Israel is] working for peace and [Israel] want[s] peace, and a Palestine that is a whole Palestine that belongs to the people who live there, how can [Israel] say we’re planning to build in a place that will eventually be Palestine? So it sends a message that perhaps [Israel] is not really serious.”
Yet the Times of Israel, reporting on the same issue, had a much more foreboding pull-quote:
“We’ll remind Kerry of what he’s said himself,” responded a senior Israeli official quoted by Channel 2, “We will not succumb to fear tactics.” The Israeli official seemed to be angrily echoing Kerry’s own comments in connection with the Iranian nuclear program in late October, when he said that America “will not succumb to those fear tactics” — remarks interpreted by commentators as criticism of Israeli warnings about the dangers of talking to Tehran.
See whatimean, you guys? Israel doesn’t even want to admit that it has a problem, and the U.S. keeps giving it more and more money.