Ask Congress to Make Military Aid to Israel Conditional

Contact your Congress members and ask them to suspend or cut military aid to the Israeli government until it ends its systematic violation of Palestinian human rights and complies with international law. Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign aid since World War II, having received about $124 billion as of 2015 (p.2/37). Since 1948, the Israeli government has repeatedly violated UN Security Council resolutions and international humanitarian law in its repression of Palestinians. During most of that time it has used weapons made and supplied by the United States and funded by American taxpayers. 

On September 14, 2016, President Obama agreed to give Israel $38 billion in military aid over the ten years starting 2019, or $3.8 billion a year. This is the biggest military aid package ever given to any country. It replaces the current 10-year package of $30 billion which expires in 2018, negotiated by the Bush Administration in 2007 (p.2/37). This is aid just from the State Department. In recent years Israel has received about $.5 billion more each year through the Defense Department. [In May 2016, the Senate Appropriations Committee asked for an additional $600 million for Israel in FY2017 through the Defense budget. President Obama had only asked for $150 million, and in mid-June stated his opposition to the higher amount.]

For fiscal year 2016, the Administration's request for foreign military financing for Israel equaled about 53% of the total U.S. foreign military financing budget request (p.9/37).

Act now! You make a difference. Call and email our Congressmen and the State Department and ask them to make U.S. military aid to Israel conditional on Israel's compliance with U.S. law.

TALKING POINTS:

1. Israel breaks U.S. law by persistently violating human rights with U.S.-supplied weapons.* It is stated U.S. policy to support a negotiated two-state solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict. But while we are waiting for the two-state solution, Israel violates U.S. law* by using U.S. taxpayer-funded weapons to illegally appropriate Palestinian land, destroy Palestinian farms and homes, and attack Palestinian civilians under occupation.

2. The U.S. continues to give Israel unconditional military aid. The U.S. will give the Israeli government unconditional military aid of at least three billion dollars each year through 2018, and more starting in 2019, despite the fact that the Israeli government has ignored repeated requests by the U.S. to halt all illegal settlement activity.

3. Request hearings and suspend aid. Ask our Congressmen to request hearings on the Israeli government’s apparent violations of U.S. laws designed to prevent U.S. complicity in continued gross human rights violations. Don’t treat Israel as an exception. If Israel is in violation, suspend military aid as the law requires. U.S. taxpayers should not have to subsidize illegal settlements and the ongoing violation of the human rights of millions of people.

*The U.S. is required to end or suspend military aid to countries which violate:

  1. The U.S. Foreign Assistance Act (1961). Section 116 states, "Human Rights - (a) No assistance may be provided under this part to the government of any country which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights..." (p. 59, p.67/507 of pdf),  and
  2. The U.S. Arms Export Control Act (1976). Section 2754 limits the use of U.S. weapons to "internal security" or "legitimate self-defense". "Legitimate self-defense" does not include an occupier's use of weapons against the civilian population it is occupying. That is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The same points were made in a letter to Congress sent by fifteen Christian church leaders on October 5, 2012. The leaders represent ten denominations: the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Evangelical Lutheran Church, United Methodist Church, American Friends Service Committee, Mennonite Central Committee, Orthodox Peace Fellowship, American Baptist Churches, United Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, United Church of Christ, Conference of Major Superiors of Men, and the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns.