Saturday, September 30, 2006

Congress Agrees Increase in Military Aid to Israel

The US Congress yesterday approved an extra $500 million to develop defense projects with Israel. Haaretz reports that the funds will be split amongst many projects including:

'the development of a short-range missile interception system, navigation systems for missiles and combat aircraft, and aerial drones.'

The extra money is not included in the $2 billion of military aid that the US provides. Once again we see an example of the US being prepared to back state sponsored terrorism, despite their 'war on terror' rhetoric.

The accusations of state sponsored terrorism are well-founded. B'Tselem, the human rights group in Israel, has recently condemned the Israeli air strike on the only electrical power station in Gaza. The report accused the Israeli government of committing war crimes and claimed that it could take up to 14 months to get the station operational again. This, in turn, has serious knock on effects the local population. As B'Tselem reports:

As a result of the lack of electricity, the level of medical services provided by clinics and hospitals has declined significantly; most of the urban population receive only two or three hours of water a day; the sewage system is on the verge of collapse; many inhabitants' mobility has been severely restricted as a result of non-functioning elevators; and the lack of refrigeration has exposed many to the danger of food-poisoning. Small businesses reliant on a regular power supply have been badly affected. The hardship involved in living without a steady flow of electricity is exacerbated by the deep economic crisis afflicting the Gaza Strip.

Despite the failure of the Israeli government to observe basic standards, the US government continues to reward them by offering them huge 'defense' contracts and ensuring that they are well protected in the Security Council. While the US government refuses to condemn the Israeli government for the crimes they have committed, they persist in punitive measures against the Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority has continued to suffer as the US, and the European Union, block all financial aid for the Palestinian Authority. And the US government wonders why it is failing to win 'hearts and minds' in the region. Perhaps the sponsorship of state terror against the people of Palestine has some bearing on the current situation.

Further information: The full B'Tselem report, Haaretz