For all the chatter about animosity between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, The Washington Post reports that “a senior Israeli official will arrive in Washington next week for a final round of negotiations involving the largest military aid package the United States has ever given any country and that will last more than a decade after President Obama leaves office.” The U.S. already transfers $3.1 billion in taxpayer money every year to Israel – more than any other country by far – but the new agreement Obama is set to sign “significantly raises” that amount, and guarantees it for 10 years.
In response to this massive windfall, Netanyahu is angry that he is not getting even more. For some time, “Netanyahu was holding out for as much at $5 billion a year.” Also, Israel has been opposed to efforts to direct more of that aid to U.S. military contractors rather than Israeli ones (so this “aid” package is as much a transfer of U.S. taxpayer money to weapons manufacturers in both countries as it is to Israel itself). Moreover, “Israelis are also said to be displeased with a U.S. position that whatever amount of money they agree on will be final and that Israel will not go to Congress requesting more money.”
Usually, when someone hands you billions of dollars in aid, you’re not in much of a position to demand more. But the rules for Israel when it comes to U.S. policy, as is so often the case, are simply different. Even as Israel has aggressively expanded settlements of the West Bank (often in a way designed to most humiliate the U.S.) and slaughtered civilians in Gaza, U.S. aid simply increases more and more. What’s particularly fascinating about all of this is that Netanyahu originally intended to wait until the “next administration” to finalize the deal because, assuming that would be Hillary Clinton, he believed (with good reason) he would get an even better deal, but is now worried about an “unpredictable” Donald Trump, who has spouted standard pro-Israel rhetoric before AIPAC (and worse) but had previously espoused the need for “neutrality” on the Israel/Palestine question and has made “America First” the rhetorical centerpiece of his campaign.
All of this means that the U.S. generally, and Democrats specifically, bear direct responsibility for the hideous brutality and oppression imposed by Israel on Palestinians through decades of occupation.
Read the rest of the column at The Intercept.