US Aid to Israel Issues Beyond Palo Alto, posted by Jag Singh, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Apr 17, 2007 at 11:06 am
According to Thomas Stauffer (see full report by staff writer David Francis of the Christian Science Monitor), a consulting economist in Washington, Israel has drained a staggering $1.6 trillion from the US Treasury since 1973. This nets out to be $5,700 per person based on the current U.S. population (or more than twice the cost of the Vietnam War). Israeli officials are now asking for more money. At a White House meeting last month, $4 billion in additional military aid and $8 billion in loan guarantees is being demanded to prop up the recession-bound economy. Based on the history of past loan guarantees, there is little likely hood, that Israel will ever pay back the loan, saddling US taxpayers with both principal and interest payments. U.S. aid money has always been paid to Israel without pre-conditions. Thus, it is very likely that this aid money and loan will be used to dispossess the Palestinians of more of their land to build ‘for Jews’ only illegal settlements. This comes at a time when more than 82% of the Palestinians are suffering from acute malnutrition resulting from the crippling economic sanctions and theft of Palestinian revenue by Israel. I urge readers to pierce the blanket of silence and demand an immediate halt to unconditional economic and military aid to Israel.
Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford, on Apr 17, 2007 at 12:52 pm
As usual, thanks for doing our homework Boaz.
By the way, anyone hear any reports yet about the 3 former terrorists who spoke at Stanford U yesterday? They have defected from their former lives and speak against their former "fellows". Any news? Any Stanford students here to report what they said? The public was not allowed to go and I am curious. ( Funny how the public wasn't allowed, is this typical for speakers?)
Posted by sarlat, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Apr 17, 2007 at 5:54 pm
Most of the aid given to Israel is disguised as loans, loan guarantees and military aid. None of it is ever paid back and it's virtually impossible to figure out how much we have actually given Israel. A former senior Israeli treasury department financial analyst once explained to me that it's all about creative accounting, which he himself called cooking the books, in order to deceive the US tax payers and any attempt at auditing the US aid to IsraelKNGKF. No one knows how much we have actually given Israel over the years, but two things are certain;we have given them astounding amounts of financial aid and received nothing in return.
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 17, 2007 at 6:53 pm
Most of the aid given Israel was payback for them surrendering the strategic advantage they gained while repelling an attack by all the Arab nations. Even then we have to match that with an equal amount to Egypt.
Posted by sarlat, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Apr 17, 2007 at 7:17 pm
Wallis, get your facts right:in 1967, it was Israel who attacked Egypt and Syria first, not the other way around. Read the book by then Israeli general staff member general Peled and you'll find out that the Israeli general staff had been well aware that Syria and Egypt had no intention of attacking Israel and amassed troops only to prevent an Israeli attack the Soviets told them was eminent. The US Navy ship Liberty was sunk by IDF navy and air-force in international waters because it picked up signals indicating an Israeli surprise attack.
Posted by The Cohen brother, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 18, 2007 at 7:07 am
Boaz, the Libert was not sunk by Israel???
Twenty-six years have passed since that clear day on June 8, 1967 when Israel attacked the USS Liberty with aircraft and torpedo boats, killing 34 young men and wounding 171. The attack in international waters followed over nine hours of close surveillance. Israeli pilots circled the ship at low level 13 times on eight different occasions before attacking. Radio operators in Spain, Lebanon, Germany and aboard the ship itself all heard the pilots reporting to their headquarters that this was an American ship. They attacked anyway. And when the ship failed to sink, the Israeli government concocted an elaborate story to cover the crime.
There is no question that this attack on a U.S. Navy ship was deliberate. This was a coordinated effort involving air, sea, headquarters and commando forces attacking over a long period. It was not the "few rounds of misdirected fire" that Israel would have the world believe. Worse, the Israeli excuse is a gross and detailed fabrication that disagrees entirely with the eyewitness recollections of survivors. Key American leaders call the attack deliberate. More important, eyewitness participants from the Israeli side have told survivors that they knew they were attacking an American ship.
Fifteen years after the attack, an Israeli pilot approached Liberty survivors and then held extensive interviews with former Congressman Paul N. (Pete) McCloskey about his role. According to this senior Israeli lead pilot, he recognized the Liberty as American immediately, so informed his headquarters, and was told to ignore the American flag and continue his attack. He refused to do so and returned to base, where he was arrested.
Later, a dual-citizen Israeli major told survivors that he was in an Israeli war room where he heard that pilot's radio report. The attacking pilots and everyone in the Israeli war room knew that they were attacking an American ship, the major said. He recanted the statement only after he received threatening phone calls from Israel.
The pilot's protests also were heard by radio monitors in the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon. Then-U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dwight Porter has confirmed this. Porter told his story to syndicated columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak and offered to submit to further questioning by authorities. Unfortunately, no one in the U.S. government has any interest in hearing these first-person accounts of Israeli treachery.
Key members of the Lyndon Johnson administration have long agreed that this attack was no accident. Perhaps most outspoken is former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Thomas Moorer. "I can never accept the claim that this was a mistaken attack," he insists.
Posted by Boaz, a resident of the Greater Miranda neighborhood, on Apr 18, 2007 at 7:40 am
Cohen Brother--that is correct, Israel did not sink the Liberty. Read what you yourself wrote--" And when the ship failed to sink..."
I did not say that Israel did not attack the Liberty but it did not sink. My comment was directed towards the inaccuracies in a posting by Sarlat. I do not dispute that Israel attacked the Liberty--whether it was deliberate or not is an issue I will not address, since I feel that people have strong feelings one way or another about the incident. Let us suffice t o say that friendly fire incidents occur in all wars.
Dave--do you seriously believe that the US and for that matter, other countries allied with the US do not engage in espionage on their allies?
And if only all the countries in the Mideast were friends to the US like Israel is--then maybe we would not have had 9/11 and the war in Iraq.
Posted by Dave, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Apr 18, 2007 at 7:44 am
Jay Kristol is an ardent zionist and supporter of the Israeli Right wing. Would you rather believe him, or an Israeli pilot who participated in the attack, an Israeli officer who was present in IDF Tel Aviv war room, radio operators all over the Mediterranean who heard and recorded the Israeli pilots reporting that it was a US Navy ship, Admiral Moorer who investigated the incident and many Israeli military historians who admit that the Liberty was deliberately attacked by the Israeli navy and air force?
Posted by Boaz, a resident of the Greater Miranda neighborhood, on Apr 18, 2007 at 7:58 am
So what is your point, Dave?
Was the Liberty attack worse than 9/11? Is it worse than the insurgents slaughtering civilians and US soldiers in Iraq?
So do you believe that Israel is an "enemy" of the US? They are worse than Al-Qieda? Worse than the insurgents in Iraq? Worse than the perps behind the USS Cole attack?
The Liberty incident happened 40 years ago. If you still wantto beat that horse to death, be my guest--but if that is your "ammunition" to show that Israel is an "enemy" of the US, then you are shooting blanks.
Posted by Dave, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Apr 18, 2007 at 10:27 am
Wallis, I can only speculate, but the US air support would have probably ended up fighting IAF mirage jets.
Boaz, unlike Al Qaeda, Israel has been the #1 benefeciary of US economic and military aid and has been saved by the US numerous times from condemnations and possible economic sanctions. The Liberty attack happened indeed 40 years ago, but Israeli espionage is much more recent and is probably going on as we speak. Israel is no Al Qaeda but Israel is no friend of the US either, and I am saying it as a Jewish American who had lived in Israel and served in an IDF combat unit.
Posted by Boaz, a resident of the Greater Miranda neighborhood, on Apr 18, 2007 at 10:38 am
And the reason that the US has "saved" Israel from condemnation and possible economic sanctions is because the US knows that Israel is it's one true friend in the region. Also, one has to look at who has been pushing for these condemnations and possible economic sanctions--the Arab block in the UN and their lackeys.
Israel has been the one true democracy in the region and has for decades been fighting for it's existence. i am sure that as a former member of the IDF you know this.
Please be more specific and provide information about Israeli espionage, while also providing information that the US does not engage in espionage against it's allies.
Posted by Dave, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Apr 18, 2007 at 1:02 pm
Information regarding United States policy towards Iran was passed to Israel through Lawrence Franklin via the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Franklin, a former Defense Department employee, has pleaded guilty to several espionage-related charges and was sentenced in January 2006 to nearly thirteen years of prison. Two former AIPAC employees have also been indicted.
The investigation and prosecutions, which began in 1999, have attracted attention because critics of U.S. Israeli policy have claimed AIPAC has served as a conduit for Israel’s spying efforts with near impunity due to its powerful connections in Washington. Franklin's indictment mentioned but did not name several foreign diplomats, widely believed to be Israeli, as being involved with his efforts.
There's of course the Jonathan pollard case, and there are other cases, dating back years.
"Ultimately, Franklin was charged with unauthorized disclosure of classified information, not with espionage."
As I have stated before, I am sure the US engages in espionage against other countries that it considers it's allies. The bottom line is that Israel and the US do this in order to protect their own interests.
Whether this is okay or justified is another matter.
So the bottom line is that even if Israel and the US spy on each other does this mean that they are not friends?? I would hardly say that Israel is no friend of the US.
Posted by Dave, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Apr 18, 2007 at 2:09 pm
The spying isn't the main eleent here, although it's bad enough. My service in the IDf had opened my eyes to the fact that Israel is actually the main aggressor in the Middle East and the most formidable obstacle to solving the conflict, although there's plenty of blame to go around. By supporting Israel's aggression and by providing her with massive aid and a diplomatic carte blanch, the US has been an enabler of the settlement building and expansion and the brutalization of the Palestinian population. We are paying for it by fostering an ever increasing hatred of the Arab and Muslim world.
Posted by Boaz, a resident of the Greater Miranda neighborhood, on Apr 18, 2007 at 2:28 pm
I guess continued declarations by Hamas/Hezbollah etc that they will not recognize israel's right to exist and that Israel should be wiped off the face of the earth makes Israel the aggressor in the region now--they are to blame for all the problem in the Middle east. If only Israel could just be wiped off the face of the earth--that would solve all our problems.
Israel apparently has some master plan to conquer the 50+ arab nations in the region and rule everything!!!! I suppose Israel is also to blame for the problems with Iran and Iraq.
As I have said many times before, the solution to the problems between israel and the Palestinians will occur when the Palestinians recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce terrorism and agree to a peaceful co-existance with Israel.
Posted by Dave, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Apr 18, 2007 at 5:12 pm
According to eyewitness accounts by Israeli officers and journalists, the Israeli Army - the army that claims to hold itself to a higher moral standard than other armies - executed as many as 1,000 Arab prisoners during the 1967 war.
Historian Gabby Bron wrote in the Yediot Ahronot in Israel that he witnessed Israeli troops executing Egyptian prisoners on the morning of June 8, 1967, in the Sinai town of El Arish.
Bron reported that he saw about 150 Egyptian POWs being held at the El Arish airport where they were sitting on the ground, densely crowded together with their hands held on the back of their necks. Every few minutes, Bron writes, Israeli soldiers would escort an Egyptian POW from the group to a hearing conducted by two men in Israeli army uniforms. Then the man would be taken away, given a spade, and forced to dig his own grave.
Bron watched as (one) man dug a hole for about 15 minutes, Bron wrote. Afterwards, the (Israeli military) policeman told him to throw the shovel away, and then one of them leveled an Uzi at him and shot two short bursts, each of three or four bullets.
Bron says he witnessed about ten such executions, until the grave was filled. Then an Israeli Colonel threatened him with a revolver, forcing him to leave the area.
As those executions were underway, America's most sophisticated intelligence platform, USS Liberty, was less than 13 miles from El Arish.
The Liberty crew were close enough to see the town mosque with the naked eye. With binoculars we could make out individual buildings and might have seen the executions if they had looked in the right place.
Could our operators have heard voice radio messages revealing these killings? Did senior Israeli officers sanction the murders, or did they learn of them? How would they have reacted to the knowledge that USS Liberty was nearby and might have heard incriminating radio traffic?
Would they have been desperate enough to attack an American ship?
Posted by Boaz, a resident of the Greater Miranda neighborhood, on Apr 18, 2007 at 6:58 pm
Ah bringing up the Liberty again--this is new--I have not found any of this on any of the Liberty websites.
Care to provide a source for this story? Why wait almost 40 years to bring this to light? or are you hoping this becomes an urban myth? You know what they say--you repeat a lie often enough and people believe it.
Aould this have happened? Who lnows. i think we know that in times of war things happen--in all armies, Israel, the US etc.
But again what is the point? are you trying to discredit Israel? I guess you have to go back to ancienthistory to find dirt on Israel.
Shall we discuss all the atrocities committed by the arab countries in that region?
Posted by Dave, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Apr 18, 2007 at 7:19 pm
Israel is committing atrocities and gross human right abuses every day with her draconian occupation. Israel is engaged in state sponsored terrorism, using sophisticated weapons to kill civilians in occupied territories. Hamas doesn't have F15's and tanks, so they use suicide bombers, but both are engaged in terror, except the Israeli brand of terror is much deadlier. For every Israeli civilian murdered by Palestinian terrorism, 13 Palestinians are murdered by the IDF.In the summer of 2006, the IAF dropped thousands of cluster bombs on civilian targets in lebanon. While cluster nombs aren't illegal, using them to target civilians is a considered a war crime. I would be the last person to deny Arab atrocities:all Arab countries are failed states.
As far as the information about executions of Egyptian prisoners, there have been many articles about this in Israeli newspapers and magazines in the last 30+ years [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 18, 2007 at 7:51 pm
If US planes had come to Liberty's aid, I doubt the Israeli attack would have continued. The failure of our planes to show up only reinforced the opinion that the Liberty was not USA. Anyone can buy a flag. No one has explained to my satisfaction why the planes were recalled.
What happens to Israeli prisoners of the Arabs? I was once in a position where I was under orders to kill two prisoners I had taken if we were in danger of being overrun. I would have done it. I dare any Feather Merchant to tell me I would have been wrong.
Posted by Boaz, a resident of the Greater Miranda neighborhood, on Apr 18, 2007 at 9:03 pm
We've heard the same refrain over and over about how Israel is committing atrocities, human rights abuses and state sponsored terrorism--basically some cannot stand the fact that Israel exists and is able to protect itself from the palestinian murders and homicide bombers that are bent on their destruction. I am willing to bet you that most western nations would not show the same restraint against their enemies, if they were sending homicide bombers to blow up the elderly, women and children. the fact that Israel is held to a completely different standard than the rest of the world is evident by the actions of the UN and the EU over the years.
i, personally, applaud Israel and the restraint that they have shown in their dealings with the palestinian and hezbollah murderers.
the fact that the reports about the so-called execution of egyptian soldiers has been reported in the israeli press for 30+ years (according to you) goes a long way to show the true democratic nature of Israel.
I am proud to call myself a zionist and if my writings appear to be "zionist propoganda" to you, I stand by them. I am not ashamed of my country or my people.
Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford, on Apr 19, 2007 at 7:01 am
I completely agree, Boaz. The more I learn, the more I am extremely impressed with Israel's restraint. Frankly, all the screaming about how bad Israel is what led me to learn more, because it was impossible for me to believe that any country would have a majority of people who would elect governments that would enact such alleged horrible laws and policies.
Turns out that my gut feeling was right. Israel and its people are incredibly restrained. The propoganda against them is incredible, and thankfully our freedom allows us to find out the real stories. I am grateful to live in a country where I can actually research the truth.
I believe that the rest of the countries in the Middle East will also be as great as Israel as they rid themselves of their dictatorships and allow their own true natures to show. Once the people are free to be educated, have freedom of access to info, and free to elect true representative governments, I believe the true nature of the peoples will bring about peace.
I really believe that most people are good people, who just want to live and let live, and it is just the hateful propoganda drilled into their heads that is causing them to be the innocent victims of their evil leaders. It would be so simple..just leave Israel alone. That's all she wants. What is incredible is if that were to happen, interdependent commerce could flourish, and all the neighbors would benefit.
Hope I live long enough to see it happen, but I doubt it. On the other hand, I never thought I would see the day come when the USSR would collapse, either.
Posted by Dave, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Apr 19, 2007 at 7:24 am
As an Israeli officer who was present at the Kyria(Tel Aviv) IDF war room on June, 8, 1967 testified, they were well aware that the Liberty was a US navy ship. The Liberty, being the most sophisticated intelligence ship of that era, pre AWACS, had a very distinctive look and shape,and the Soviets had nothing resemblig it. Israeli intelligence was very precise and sophisticated. Moreover,The USS Liberty was in international waters and the attack on it is consideed a war crime under the Geneva Convention. It's obvious that political pressure by Israeli supporters in the Johnson administration recalled the US naval jets. Nothing else makes any sense. This kind type of behavior and mindset has charactarised Israel's behavior in the last 40 years.
Posted by Dave, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Apr 19, 2007 at 7:42 am
The notion that Israel shows any kind restraint against the Palestinians or anyone else, or that it behaves better than other Arab countries, is just, I should I say it.. lots of hooey. It's beautiful propaganda, and it fools some people some of the time, but that's all it is-propaganda.
Posted by Boaz, a resident of the Greater Miranda neighborhood, on Apr 19, 2007 at 7:43 am
Thank you Draw The Line--it is obvious that Israel stands alone in the region as a true democracy and must not only withstand terrorist attacks constantly, but also must deal with the double standard imposed upon it.
Israel has acted honorably and with restraint over the years.
As for the Liberty incident (once again dredged up from the history books)--I think if you look online for information you will find many, many websites-some saying it was an accident, some saying it was a deliberate attack. However it is apparent that some people will use the Liberty attack to tar and feather Israel and when that does not work Israel is accused of committing atrocities, human rights abuses and state sponsored terrorism.
Those that are familiar with Israel and the obstacles that it faces know that all of the above are wild accusations used one-sidedly to smear Israel. Those of us who are familiar with Israel, get a good laugh every time these old chestnuts are hauled out.
Israel's "mindset" for the last 60 years has been to protect the nation and it's citizens, while developing an economy based on agriculture, high-tech and other ground breaking discoveries.
Say what you want about Israel, but just look at what they have done in 60 years with a country the size of New Jersey, while constantly facing the threat of annihilation.
Israel is not evil. Israel is not the cause of all the strife in the Mideast. Israel is one of America's only true friends in the Mideast. Of course, like all countries Israel has made some mistakes over the years. Unfortunatley there are those that will never see anything positive about Israel and nothing I or others can say will change their minds.
Posted by Dave, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Apr 19, 2007 at 8:55 am
Who exactly claimed that only Israel exceutes POWs? However, the claim that Israel has conducted herself honorably and with retraint over the years is laughable. Israel has behaved just as badly as the failed states surround her, and most of the time with more aggression. It is true that some Israeli POW have been tortured while in captivity, very few, if any, have ever been executed, while hundreds of Arab POWs were executed by Israel. Israel is not a friend of our country but a liability.
Posted by Boaz, a resident of the Greater Miranda neighborhood, on Apr 19, 2007 at 9:45 am
I will repeat--Israel has acted honorably and with restraint over the years. Further discussion on this issue is useless, suffice it to say that one only needs to look at the history of Syria wiping an entire village of 10000 people and suicide bombings by Palestinians and Iraqis over the years to realize that there is tremendous difference in attitudes toward human life between Israel and some of it's neighbors.
With regard to the new urban myth regarding the "execution of egyptian soldiers"--so if other countries have executed captured soldiers, then why single out Israel for condemnation? As myself and others have pointed out, in times of war sometimes terrible things happen.
Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford, on Apr 19, 2007 at 10:53 am
Boaz, I think that there are people who cannot draw the distinctions you are trying to make, and who assume that when you say Israel has acted honorably and with restraint, you are trying to say that Israel, and Israelis, have never screwed up and there have never been "collateral" or unintended tragic consequences.
The line of difference is that Israel has the honorable intent to preserve as much life as possible while defending herself, post-error introspection and repentance with the will to enact law/policy differences to prevent further errors, and of having a policy of not killing innocent human beings. When something happens against their values, they quickly try and condemn THEIR OWN people, like we do.
So, because the ideals are high, and the self-recrimination is transparent and loud, it is misrepresented as being "typical" and "purposeful", and used by those who hate Israel to draw attention away from the deliberate destruction of innocent human life happening in the surrounding countries.
One thing that led me to study it all more was this question. If Israel is so horrible and uncivilized in its dealings with Muslims and/or Arabs, why are both granted full citizenship in Israel, comprise 20% of the population of Israel, and have representation in the Supreme Court and in their national government? They are free to leave whenever they wish, it is a free country. And, if Israel is so bad, why are there people from the surrounding areas begging to be allowed to immigrate into Israel? Why aren't the Arabs/Muslims who live in Israel leaving, instead of growing in immigration? That alone gives lie to the propoganda we always hear on this thread. They must be doing something right, or at least more right than the surrounding areas/countries.
Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford, on Apr 19, 2007 at 11:00 am
As an aside, the same is true of the US. We are constantly pummelled in the "world press", including Canada's,for being so horrible in violence, in morals, in foreign policies, in how we treat our "poor", how bad our social welfare programs are, yet the immigration rate from any country to ours is much higher than from ours to theirs. Even the easiest country that Americans can emigrate to, Canada, admits 1/10th of the US citizens that the US admits of Canadian Citizens ( as a percent of population of the country of origin).
Interesting way to evaluate a country, by how many are leaving versus how many are trying to come in.
Posted by sarlat, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Apr 19, 2007 at 12:51 pm
Actually, you are making the case for those you oppose so much. The US is indeed a great country, based on a great document-the Constitution. The present administration is a disgraceful aberration, a cancer cell that managed to mutate and infect in an otherwise great, although impefect body. This cancer will be removed, either in 21 more months or hopefully much earlier through impeachment, and then we'll be able to be proud in our country again.
Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford, on Apr 19, 2007 at 2:26 pm
Good grief. I am always amazed at how people who think Bush is stupid and ineffective is the same Bush who has single-handedly destroyed our country, and furthermore believe that once he is gone, the country will no longer be crushed under his heel and we can all "go back" to...fill in the blank with whatever utopic sentence you wish.
Oh well. Only 21 more months and then we can see who the next object of hatred will be.
Posted by Anominus, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 22, 2007 at 11:20 pm
The obvious intent of Isarel is to wipe the Palestaian population off the face of the what was once their country.
Has anyone seen "Israel's next War" . It has a section which calls for the killing of all Palestanian's . Israel has always demanded complete control of all of the water in the area and also control of the sky's or no Palestain air fields and on and on.
And children throwing stones are terrorists and hundreds have been killed.
Posted by Jay, a resident of the Embarcadero Oaks/Leland neighborhood, on Apr 23, 2007 at 8:13 am
If you follow the evolution of the Israeli political map, you'll see that the future is frightfully bleak. The extremely fascist, racist and dangerous Lieberman Russian immigrant party is rapidly ascending and will probably become the largest political party in a few years, alligned with the most extreme and violent elements of the Israeli political arena. Their solution, when one peels away away some clever rhetoric is to forcibly expell all Arabs from greater Israel. Their best ally is the enormous apathy of the Israeli mainstream who pretend this doesn't exist and who are afraid to actively oppose these trends. When Lieberman speaks to his folowers in Russian, away from media attention, he eliminates all diplomatic language and tells them what he really has in mind, which is killing all Palestinians who will refuse to be expelled. He always gets thunderous applauds when he promises to do that. Just like in the Weimar Republic, a fascist demagogue is taking advantage of an extremely weak and cahotic democratic system to take over, using the democratic process. This is where Israeli is really headed and this is 'our best friend in the ME'.