Friday, November 11, 2016

Aid to Israel

So, we give 38 billion more to Israel.  We know most of that goes to policies that we do not support but most Americans feel that as long as it’s "no skin off my back", there are other issues that deserve our attention.

But, what if we all realized that our income tax payments have gone up by $300 to support our give away to Israel. According to Gideon Levy:

One hundred and fifty dollars or $300 for each U.S. taxpayer for the next ten years. Not toward America’s considerable social needs, not to assist truly needy countries – imagine what $38 billion would do for Africa – but to provide weapons for an army that is already one of the most powerfully armed in the world.[1]

Levy goes on to say, “The last thing Israel needs is more arms, which will push it toward more acts of violence… some of the money will go for defense systems, but another part will go for maintaining the occupation and especially to fund violent showy actions in Gaza and Lebanon.”

There is no way to deny it, every settlement built on Palestinian land is financed by the U.S. and every child killed by Israel is paid for by our $300 per tax payer with our having no say in it.

And what do we get for it in return? Nothing! Except the contempt of every lover of justice on the globe. Levy asks, who can be proud of making war against the barefoot, hungry and broken people of Gaza?

So, we say, “Sorry” to the homeless mother and her children sleeping under a bridge in winter time. There is no affordable housing for her, but you see, we have to send billions of dollars a  year so Israel can continue to subsidize its Jewish only housing in the occupied West Bank.

And we say, “Sorry” to the parents of a sick child, we would love to help but you see, Israel wants universal health care.

We say, I wish your $300 tax increase would be used for such things as education, health care, affordable housing, our infrastructure, addressing the effects of climate change, caring for our veterans or simply going to pay down our national debt among other desperate needs across the United States, but, you see, keeping the people of Gaza imprisoned is expensive.  

I wish we could put your $300 extra tax burden to better use.

I bet you do, too.

Thomas Are
November 11, 2016

[1] Gideon Levy, With New Israel Aid Deal, Obama is Patron of the Occupation. Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, November, 2016, p. 14.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Painting over Atrocity

Israel is painting its fighter jets pink. When I read that I immediately thought, “how appropriate.” In my day, pink was known as a feminine color. If we saw a man dressed in pink, we immediately thought “sissy.”  So, painting Israeli jets pink seems like a confession. Israel seldom uses its jets to attack anyone who can fight back. Palestinians in Gaza come to mind.

Then, I read that Israel is painting its jets pink to show “sympathy with victims of breast cancer.”  How flagrant can one be in its hypocrisy?  Gaza is suffering a gross lack of painkillers, surgical equipment and critical drugs because of the Israeli blockade.

Salem Abdul Aziz is a Palestinian parent witnessing the slow death of his cancer stricken daughter. After receiving a referral from the Palestinian ministry of health to treat his daughter in Jerusalem, Salam was unable to take her due to Israeli authorities prolonging procedures, which meant he could not get through the Erez crossing into Jerusalem.[1]

According to NPR (December 2015), “In Gaza, Kids With Cancer Have ‘Virtually No Care.’ They must have a permit from the Israeli army to leave Gaza and then, on the rare occasions when permission is granted, children cannot be accompanied by anyone under the age of 55 which restricts parent from being with their child during a frightening and often painful experience.  Hopefully some of these children have a grandmother strong enough to go.

Umaimah Zamalat was worried. The doctors had told her that her cancer was “very sensitive” to delays. She had reason to be concerned. With all of her permits in order, she was stopped at the border by Israeli soldiers and simply told that going to Jerusalem was no longer allowed.[2]

John Pilger, award-winning journalist, reports of, “an Israeli sniper putting the cross-hairs of his rifle directly on an old lady with a cane trying to get into a hospital for her chemotherapy treatment. She was shot dead.”[3]  Israel can paint its planes any color it wants to, but shooting an old lady with cancer is nothing short of state terrorism. Such acts do not raise awareness for those who are sick but it does show Israel’s true colors. 

And if that is not enough, according to UNRWA, reporting on Israel’s bombardment of Gaza in the summer of 2014:

By Saturday, August 2, the Israeli military had attacked a full third of Gaza’s hospitals, along with fourteen primary healthcare clinics and twenty-nine ambulances. “It was insane, we were waiting and the hospital was begging the Israelis to delay and give us some time to evacuate and get the wounded out. The whole time, ambulances were rushing to the hospital with large numbers of injured people… Every floor was covered with wounded patients. We were treating the injured in dental chairs, doing surgery on the ground, doing anything we could to save people.”[4]

It will take a lot of pink paint to cover up Israel’s atrocious abuse of the Palestinians.

Thomas Are
November 5, 2016

[1] Mondoweiss, Israel Paints Fighter Jet pink to raise Breast Cancer Awareness while Preventing cancer patients in Gaza from REceivig Treatment. Mondoweiss, October, 28, 2016
[2][2] Electronic Intifada, Gaza Patients Battle Cancer and Israeli Siege, February, 2016
[3] DVD Documentary, Palestine is Still the Issue, Produced by Carlton International Media, 2004, available from Bullfrog Films.
[4] Max Blumenthal, The 51 Day War, (Nation Books, 2015) p. 104-5