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4 Ways America Is Complicit In Israel’s War Crimes

Israel is using American weapons and money to pound Gaza.

A Palestinian woman mourns during the funeral for those killed in heavy Israeli bombardment of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 21, 2014
Photo Credit: AFP


America’s unstinting support for Israel is a key reason why the assault on Gaza continues unabated.

As the death toll climbs to over 500 Palestinians, mostly civilians, there is no immediate end in sight. There is little reason for Israel to stop when it can count on the backing of the world’s superpower.  “No nation should accept rockets being fired into its borders,” President Obama said when Israel’s ground invasion begun.

There was a tiny crack in America’s wall of support for Israel over the weekend. A live television camera caught Secretary of State John Kerry mocking Israel’s claims that its attack on Gaza would be precise and limited. “It's a hell of a pinpoint operation,” Kerry said sarcastically. But when he was confronted with the clip on Fox News, Kerry backed off, and pivoted to full-throated support for Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge.” The tiny crack was shored up.

Rhetorical support isn't all Israel can count on; the state is also using American weapons and money to pound Gaza. Here are four other ways the U.S. is deeply complicit in Israel’s assault on Gaza and the war crimes that accompany it.

1. Military aid. This is the bread and butter of the U.S.-Israel alliance. Since 1948, when Israel was created after expelling hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes, the U.S. has given Israel $112 billion. That makes Israel the largest cumulative recipient of American aid.

The vast majority of it comes in the form of military aid to beef up the Israeli army, one of the most powerful forces in the world. U.S. military aid makes up about a quarter of the Israeli military budget. And a quarter of American military aid is allowed to be spent on Israel’s own defense industry, a unique concession no other country receives.

In recent years, the U.S. has given Israel $3.1 billion in military aid and weaponry in the form of F16s, Hellfire missiles, and assault rifles, now being used to kill Palestinian civilians.  In addition, the U.S. funds Israeli missile defense systems like the much-praised Iron Dome, which shoots rockets fired from Gaza out of the sky. In the midst of Israel’s attack, a Senate committee passed a bill that would give Israel an additional $620 million for missile defense, including $350 million for Iron Dome.

2. U.S. corporations. The military aid doesn’t only help Israel, it’s also a boon to the U.S. military industrial complex.

While Israel can spend a quarter of the military aid on its homemade armaments, it must spend 75 percent of the money on American-made weapons. In that sense, the money goes from the U.S. to Israel and then back to America again.

The companies reaping the profits from Israel’s blood-letting are numerous: corporations like Caterpillar, whose bulldozers are bought by Israel and then outfitted by the military to demolish Palestinian homes; Lockheed Martin, which makes the Hellfire missiles Israel uses; and Hewlett Packard, which helps power the Israeli army and navy’s information technology systems.

All of these companies are targets of the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, which calls for boycotting Israeli goods, divesting from companies with links to Israel and its occupation and imposing sanctions on the country.

3. Diplomatic support. The U.S. government also enables Israeli attacks across occupied Palestine by shielding it in diplomatic forums.

On Sunday, the UN Security Council, which the U.S. is a member of, issued a statement calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. But a Jordanian-authored draft resolution that criticized Israel was not brought to the table—and you can bet the U.S. had a big role to play in that. On July 12, the Security Council issued a similar statement. Reuters reported that “The United States, a close ally of Israel, agreed to the statement after the Arab Group threatened to push for a resolution.” (A UN resolution would be a much stronger action that just a statement.)

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