United States Aid to Israel
Snapshot of the state of Israel
Israel's population is 5.8 million people.
The Israeli population size is ranked as the hundredth largest out of 238 countries in the world .
The Israeli government is the largest recipient of US financial aid in the world.
In 1997, the total of US grants and loan guarantees to Israel was USD 5.5 billion; ie, USD 15,068,493 per day.
From 1949 to 1998, the US government gave USD 84.8 billion in foreign aid and other US federation grants to Israel. This is more than it gave to all the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean put together, whose combined total population is 1,054,000,000.
Since 28 September 2001, more than 650 Palestinians have been killed. This was possible through the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the military power implementing it.
A breakdown of United States Aid to Israel
US Department of Defense statement on Israel, in Joint Report to Congress, 1/3/01:
'It is in the United States' national interest to promote the existence of a stable, democratic and militarily strong Israel, at peace with its neighbours [...]
The United States provides direct and indirect military aid to Israel. FY 2001 funding requests relevant to Israel:
Foreign Military Financing (FMF): grants to foreign governments financing the purchase of American made weapons, services and training.
FMF Budget Request FY 2001: Total budget request: USD 3.54 billion
Budget request for Israel: 1.98 billion
Budget request for Egypt: 1.3 billion
Budget request for Jordan 75 million
Israel therefore receives 50% of the Foreign Military Financing budget request. The large sums paid by the US to Egypt and Jordan are in recognition of the two countries signing Peace Accords with Israel in 1979 and 1994 respectively.
18 of the 92 pending arms sales transfers in the year 2000 were to Israel.
Israel has the world's largest fleet of F-16s outside the US, currently possessing 200 jets, with a further 102 on order with American manufacturer Lockheed Martin.
In June 2001 Israel again requested USD 800 million in supplementary US aid. This was originally pledged to cover the cost of the Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon: Israel was being paid for complying with international law. As Israel re-requests this package, administration officials have considered linking it to the implementation of the Mitchell Report, again effectively paying Israel to comply with international standards.
Most recently, the House passed the FY 2002 Foreign Aid Appropriations bill allocating aid to Israel at the level it requested for the first time in ten years.
Economic Support Fund (ESF): The ESF promotes economic and political stability in areas strategically important to the US. It is not intended for military usage, but allows the recipient government to free up other money, therefore providing indirect military aid.
ESF Budget Request, FY 2001:
Total budget request: USD 2.313 billion
Budget request for Near East: USD 1.828 billion, which includes:
Israel USD 840 million
Egypt USD 150 million
WB/GS USD 100 million
Israel receives the largest single grant of the Near East budget, which alone is 79% of the total ESF request.
Private donations to American charities initially constituted one quarter of Israel's budget. Today, it is estimated that these donations approach USD 1 billion per year. The New Israel Fund reports that it alone raised USD 23 million in the year 2000.
Indirect cost of Israel to the United States.
The partial cost of the US's fleet of naval forces in the Mediterranean, primarily there to protect Israel.
Cost of military air units at the Aviano base in Italy
Cost of frequent US land, naval and air force deployments to the Arabian Peninsula and Gulf.
Cost to the US of Arab boycotts, launched in reaction to the US's support of Israel.
Human cost of Americans who died because of US alliance with Israel - eg, 141 Americans killed in the 1984 bombing of US marine barracks in Beirut, 19 Americans killed in bombing of Al Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia.
US Aid to Israel: Violations of US Law
US law prohibits the President from providing military aid to any country `which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognised human rights' . Under the 1967 US Arms Export Control Act, it is illegal to use US weapons to carry out extra-judicial killings. This act stipulates that weapons be sold to `friendly countries solely for internal security and legitimate defense'.
Since September 2001, the Israeli army has used attack helicopters, tanks and F-16 missiles to target Palestinian civilians, homes, forces, buildings and in demonstrations. In its Human Rights Report, the US State Department publicly declared that the Israeli army actions were an `excessive use of force', noting that the Israeli forces used live ammunition, even when they were not in imminent danger, and stated that Israeli military `shelled PA institutions and Palestinian civilian areas in response to individual Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians or settlers'. These comments clearly demonstrate that the US does not believe that these weapons are being used for the `legitimate defense' purposes stipulated in the Arms Export Control Act.
The Israeli government's policies in the occupied Palestinian territories have been condemned by human rights organisations worldwide. In the Israeli army's `excessive use of force' towards Palestinian civilians, and in its policy of `state assassinations', not only is the Israeli government violating international human rights law, but in supplying military aid to such a state, the US is violating its own law.
US Aid to Israel: Funding the Occupation
Israel is clearly a funded state: despite its own healthy economy, it continues to receive funds from the US, in disproportion to both the country's population and needs
The financial aid alone which Israel receives from the US allows it to purchase tanks, helicopter gunships, F-16 war planes, machine guns and bullets. When it is not possible for the Israeli government to use the funds directly on military expenditure, its use elsewhere frees up other Israeli government funds to pay for military salaries, services and facilities.
Military power is required for Israel to maintain occupation implemented through settlements, checkpoints and closure. It is therefore no exaggeration to state that the US is funding and supplying the Israeli government's occupation of the Palestinian territories. Without the financial subsidies of the United States, the Israeli government would have found it considerably harder to sustain its military occupation of the Palestinian territories for the past thirty four years.