Advocates for peaceful solutions need to raise our voices to oppose all increases in military aid to Israel. Additional arms won’t make Israelis or Palestinians safer, and will only serve to prolong the suffering and postpone a just peace.
Congress works through the process of appropriating funds for the next fiscal year (FY17, beginning October 1, 2016), several initiatives have been proposed by elected officials addressing U.S. military aid to Israel.
- The House passed its version of the Defense Appropriations Act, designating more than $635 million for Israel missile defense and cooperative programs between Israel and the U.S., a significant increase over what the administration had requested. Prior to its passage, the White House issued a statement opposing the bill and listing a number of objections including to the Israel-related aid saying, “the Administration opposes the addition of $455 million above the FY 2017 Budget request for Israeli missile defense procurement and cooperative development programs.”
- The Senate appropriations committee designated “not less than $3,400,000,000” for military aid to Israel in its version of the Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill. The accompanying report states, “The Committee recommends $3,400,000,000 for assistance for Israel under the FMF heading, which is $300,000,000 above the President's budget request. The Committee supports such additional assistance for Israel given the persistent deteriorating security situation in the Middle East.”
- On June 22 Senator Rubio introduced a resolution supporting increased funding for Israel over the next decade when the current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Israel and the U.S. expires at the end of FY 2018. A similar resolution was introduced earlier in the House. These resolutions are directed at the next ten-year aid package for Israel that is being negotiated between the U.S. and Israeli governments.
Instead of increasing military aid, the United States should be addressing the root causes of violence and the ongoing impasse between Israel and Palestine, namely the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. Unconditional U.S. military aid to Israel serves to underwrite the occupation including the continued expansion of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza.
For the sake of a just peace that will benefit both Israelis and Palestinians, contact your elected officials today and urge them to:
- Reject any increase in military aid to Israel
- Place conditions on current aid consistent with those placed on other countries.