Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Faith Forum on Middle East Policy, of which Pax Christi USA is a member, sponsors a "Third Thursday for Israel-Palestine" action each month. This is the action for November. We encourage you to take action and to share this with others.

Tell Congress to reject increased military aid to Israel
Israel is reportedly seeking a significant increase in US military aid when its current 10-year aid package of $3.1 billion per year expires in 2017. A Reuters article  indicates that Israel is asking for a $50 billion package over 10 years, and an analysis in the Israeli paper Haaretz says that, while that is probably not a figure the US will agree to, $4 billion per year "seems in the range of achievable."
It is critical for advocates to speak out against any increase, because military aid to Israel is essentially a blank check, enabling it to continue its military occupation of Palestinian territory.
Instead of giving more aid, the United States should be addressing the root causes of the current violence and the ongoing impasse between Israel and Palestine, namely the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.
Israeli government and military officials are speaking out about underlying causes for the current violence in Israel-Palestine.  For example, Israel's Military Intelligence chief said that despair among Palestinian youth is one of the factors influencing the violence. A document recently published by the Israeli security service, Shin Bet,  looks at the motives of perpetrators of recent attacks and points to "a feeling of national, economic and personal oppression, as well as personal or psychological problems." Meretz chairwoman Zehava Galon wrote , "We must stop with the illusion that we can hold a people without rights and sovereignty, and that the desperation of these people that we step on every day won't turn into shocking hatred and violence." 
But instead of taking steps to dismantle the occupation, Israel is planning to send even more soldiers into the West Bank in 2016 at a reported cost of $77 million.
Unconditional US military aid to Israel serves to underwrite the occupation along with the human rights violations it entails, including movement and access restrictions on Palestinians, demolition of Palestinian property, and collective punishment including the blockade of Gaza and the recently reinstituted policy of demolishing the family homes of Palestinians accused of armed attacks.
For the welfare of both Israelis and Palestinians, the current violence must end and the root causes, including the occupation, must be addressed.  

TAKE ACTION: Write or call your representative (click here to find your representative) and senators (click here to get your senators' contact information) and urge them to:
  • Call for an immediate halt to violence by all parties
  • Call for an end to Israel's occupation of Palestinian land
  • Reject any increase in military aid to Israel
  • Place conditions on current aid consistent with those placed on other countries.
(Click here and then scroll down past the action alert information for a sample email/letter/phone script.)

In Christ's peace,


Johnny Zokovitch

Director of Communications, Pax Christi USA