The current 10-year agreement for U.S. military aid to Israel expires in 2017. In November Prime Minister Netanyahu asked the U.S. to increase its military support from $3.1 Billion a year to up to $5 Billion a year. Israel already receives more than half of all total U.S. foreign military aid and more than twice as much as the next closest ally, Egypt. Vice-President Biden is currently in Israel negotiating the amount, but a $40-$50 Billion 10-year agreement would not only be unprecedented, but unwarranted and detrimental to the interests of supporting a two-state peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
In 2015 the UCC General Synod passed a resolution calling on the U.S. government to make sure aid to Israel did not violate U.S. laws prohibiting assistance to countries that commit human rights violations. Tell President Obama that the U.S. should not renew, much less increase, Israel’s long-term military aid package without holding Israel accountable for respecting international law and the rights of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.
Israel maintains a significantly superior military advantage over the rest of the Middle East, and is in fact a major arms exporter to nations such as India, so an increase in military aid is unwarranted. Overfunding Israel’s military apparatus also runs contrary to U.S. policy of ending Israel’s military occupation of Palestinians. Moreover, throughout President Obama’s administration, Israel has consistently rejected U.S. appeals to abide by international law and refrain from expanding settlements. Unconditioned military aid has only weakened the conditions for peace.
President Obama has committed to renew Israel’s military aid agreement. Given current negotiations, however, we have an opportunity to call for a repositioning of U.S. security assistance to be an investment in peace rather than increased militarization. Now is the time to tell President Obama the U.S. must say no to more military aid for Israel without more accountability.
For more info, check out the following resources:
- “Let's Keep Talking. . . About Just Peace in Palestine and Israel.” This new resource addresses questions raised about UCC positions
- Resources Related to the 2015 General Synod Resolution: A Call for the United Church of Christ to Take Actions Toward a Just Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
- The UCC is focusing on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in March. You can register for 2 free webinars this month, with B’Tselem on March 14 and with Kairos Palestine on March 21.
- U.S. State Department 2014 Human Rights Report on Israel and the Occupied Territories
- October 5, 2012 Ecumenical Letter on Military Aid