“The package is again a statement of absolute support for Israeli occupation, colonization, and apartheid,” Phyllis Bennis told the Real News Network in response to the $38 billion package of U.S. military aid promised to Israel.
Bennis said this deal is not about Israeli defenses. The Obama administration has said that Israeli’s occupation of Palestine is not sustainable. But it becomes sustainable, Bennis said, when the U.S. finances billions in American tax dollars, “more than has been given to any other country for military assistance, including even Iraq in the ten years of the Iraq War, from 2003 to 2011.”
Bennis called the amount of money “outrageous,” for the 23rd wealtlhiest country in the world. She also said that to call the stipulation that Israel must spend some of the aid on the U.S. war industry rather than building their own a concession “simply doesn’t stand up,” as that standard applies to all of the other countries the U.S. provides aid to.
As for the provision that Israel is not to ask for more money unless there’s an emergency, Bennis said, “As we know, Israel creates the emergencies. Israel is the one who goes to war against Gaza and then demands that the U.S. send more bullets when they use them up, or more planes or more bombs.”
Independent journalist Rania Khalek said it’s “stunning” that Israel is prioritized over the interests of Americans during a time when “our government seems to be incapable of providing basic services in parts of this country, like clean drinking water and like functioning schools.”
“We’re able to always come up with this money to spend to not only enable but literally fund Israel’s ongoing destruction of Palestinian families and communities,” Khalek said.
This comes at a time when, Khalek said, the current Israeli government is the most racist government that’s been elected in Israel’s history. She said government officials have called for beheadings of disloyal Palestinians, “ISIS language,” and slaughtering mothers in their beds to prevent them from birthing ‘little snakes,’ “the language of genocide.”
“We’re arming this government and giving them the weapons they need to commit absolute savagery against a totally defenseless population,” Khalek said.
Bennis says Obama is “seriously misreading” where the American people are on the Palestinian question.
“The public discourse on this question has shifted,” she said. “There is massive opposition to Israeli actions in the United States today, particularly importantly in the Jewish community, where there’s been an enormous shift in that discourse.”
Obama has had public confrontations with Netanyahu, Bennis explained, but if the administration continues to give billions in military aid every year to Israel, and continue to “provide absolute impunity at the United Nations, using their veto or a threat of veto or a threat of other punishments to make sure that Israel is never held accountable for its potential war crimes, that’s what matters in the U.S.-Israeli relationship, and all the rest is just words.”