"A Hideous Atrocity": Noam Chomsky on Israel's Assault on Gaza & U.S. Support for the Occupation
“Since the October War in 1973, Washington has provided Israel with a level of support dwarfing the amounts provided to any other state. It has been the largest annual recipient of direct U.S. economic and military assistance since 1976 and the largest total recipient since World War ll. Total direct U.S. aid to Israel amounts to well over $140 billion in 2003 dollars. Israel receives about $3 billion in direct foreign assistance each year, which is roughly one-fifth of America's entire foreign aid budget. In per capita terms, the United States gives each Israeli a direct subsidy worth about $500 per year. This largesse is especially striking when one realizes that Israel is now a wealthy industrial state with a per capita income roughly equal to South Korea or Spain.”
According to this report, the Obama Administration gave $3.1 billion in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Israel for the Fiscal Year 2014. In addition, the U.S contributed $504 million to the joint U.S.-Israel Missile Defense Program during FY 2014. If we include that number, American taxpayers give Israel $9.9 million per day.
Over the last 20 years, the U.S. has been slowly phasing out economic aid to Israel and gradually replacing it with increased military aid. In 2007, the Bush Administration and the Israeli government agreed to a 10-year, $30 billion military aid package FY 2009 to FY 2018. In 2012, the U.S. began giving Israel $3.1 billion a year (or an average of $8.5 million a day) and promised to provide that amount every year through FY 2018.
Israel is by far the largest recipient of U.S. foreign military aid (see
how other nations compare). According to the CRS report, the President’s request for Israel for FY 2015 will encompass approximately 55% of total U.S. foreign military financing worldwide. According to the CRS report, "[a]nnual FMF grants to Israel represent 23% to 25% of the overall Israeli defense budget."
Contrary to ordinary U.S. policy, Israel has been and continues to be allowed to use approximately 25% of this military aid to purchase equipment from Israeli manufacturers. According to
CRS report, “no other recipient of U.S. military assistance has been granted this benefit.” Thanks in part to this indirect U.S. subsidy, Israel’s arms industry has become one of the strongest in the world. “Between 2001 and 2008, it was the 7th largest arms supplier to the world with sales worth a total of 9.9 billion.”
The United States also contributes funds for a joint U.S.-Israeli Missile Defense Program designed to thwart short-range missiles and rockets fired by non-state actors (such as Hamas and Hezbollah) as well as mid- and longer-range ballistic missiles (this refers to Iran and/or Syria's asenals). Arrow II, Arrow III, David's Sling, and Iron Dome refer to different projects under the umbrella of this Missile Defense program. In 2014, the U.S. spent $504 million on this and plans to spend $272.7 million in 2015.
By all accounts the United States has given more money to Israel than to any other country. The
Service’s conservative estimate of total cumulative US aid to Israel (not adjusted for inflation) from 1949 through 2014 is $121 billion.
According to McArthur, “[T]he indirect or consequential costs to the American taxpayer as a result of Washington’s blind support for Israel exceed by many times the amount of direct U.S. aid to Israel. Some of these ‘indirect or consequential’ costs would include the costs to U.S. manufacturers of the Arab boycott, the costs to U.S. companies and consumers of the Arab oil embargo and consequent soaring oil prices as a result of U.S. support for Israel in the 1973 war, and the costs of U.S. unilateral economic sanctions on Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria. (For a discussion of these larger costs, see
‘The Costs to
American Taxpayers of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: $3 Trillion,’ by the late Thomas R. Stauffer, June 2003 Washington Report, p. 20.)”
According to the report, the U.S. government has never provided Palestinians with military aid, although it has given Palestinians aid for policing their own people as well as for humanitarian and development needs. Such funds are only authorized once Congress has received proof that they will be used for "non-lethal assistance." Congress requested $440 million in aid for FY 2014, and $70 million of this was from the International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE) account.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided the Palestinian people with some indirect economic assistance through funds distributed to U.S.-based NGOs operating in the West Bank and Gaza. According to the CRS report, "Funds are allocated in this program for projects in sectors such as humanitarian assistance, economic development, democratic reform, improving water access and other infrastructure, health care, education, and vocational training." The program is subject to a vetting process and to yearly audits...
The United States also provides funding to the United Nations Relief and Works
Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), "which provides food,
shelter, medical care, and education for many of the original refugees from the
1947-1949 Arab-Israeli war and their families—now comprising approximately 4.8
million Palestinians in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza." The
amount allocated by the U.S. government for FY 2013 was $275.7 million. (Learn
more about Palestinian refugees.)