- Sep 6, 2013
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On Human Rights Day, stop the blank check to Israel | Mondoweiss
Since israel declared itself a state in 1948 the US has given them over 100 billion. Why? Congress cut benefits to americans while at the same time increasing aid to israsel by 500 million. How could that possibly happen? Because NO POLITICIAN is going to go up against AIPAC, they will be destroyed by the press.Last month I traveled on a two-week delegation to Palestine and Israel organized by Interfaith Peace-Builders. During my trip, I spoke with many individuals, both Israeli and Palestinian, and heard their personal stories. With every experience, my eyes were opened to the harsh reality of life in this region. I couldnt help but feel outraged, knowing that the US government is an ally that provides major funding to the Israeli government.
Israelis are living in a state of fear that fuels much of their national policy; policy that by nature violates the rights of their Palestinian neighbors. Israels fear may be justified by the brutal treatment of European Jews, but does that history give Israel the right to deny human rights to Palestinians?
I thought I was prepared for the situation I found in the Palestinian communities we visited, but I was shocked at the depth of the pain I witnessed. Many Palestinians have been forcibly displaced from their villages, sometimes massacred, often thrown in jail without charges. Families have been torn apart, separated by walls, barbed wire fences, and endless military checkpoints, all erected by Israel.
We met with farmers in the Palestinian village of Bilin, north of Ramallah, who told us of how their ancient olive groves were uprooted. All around Palestine, we heard similar stories of groves being uprooted, burned, or otherwise destroyed by the Israeli military. Farming has been a way of life for the Palestinians for hundreds of years, and that life has been taken from them.
As Americans, it is hard to comprehend the severity of the situation without seeing it firsthand. It is difficult to see our connection to the human rights violations in this region, halfway across the world. In reality, we are tied to these issues because we are funding the Israeli government. Our government gives $3.1 billion per year in military aid to Israel while making cuts to other programs, like social security and education.
As long as our tax money is funding such oppression, we must pay attention and ask questions. It is time that we stand up and demand an end to funding human rights violations in Palestine. It is time to stop the blank check to Israel.