December 8, 2016

Politickin’ Me Off: Stop sending money to Israel

The conflict between Israel and Palestine has made international news for several years. What has also happened for years is America giving Israel $4 to 6 billion a year in tax dollars, according to Stop U.S. Aid to Israel’s website. 

We could argue all day about what side we are one – Israel or Palestine. I personally am an advocate for the Palestinian people and think what the Israeli military is doing to them is wrong.

To deprive people of their own land and treat them like property is deplorable. What is even worse is that the United States is actively supporting this devastation, unknowingly to many Americans.

As a nation, the U.S. is ignorant on a lot of issues. We cannot claim to be passionate or totally in-tune with the political system. It is easy to know what happens with our tax dollars on a city and state level, but as far as national and international, I am not sure everyone is completely educated.

Taxes go to necessary things such as schools, roads and parks. To make it simple, the White House’s website breaks down the 2014 American tax receipt into three divisions: social security tax, medicare tax and income tax.

Photo from Google Images

Photo from Google Images

A graph shows a further breakdown into 14 divisions. The graph credits 1.85 percent of taxes being given to international affairs.

While that may seem like a small number, 1.85 percent of the total revenue for 2014 is quite staggering. The Washington Times reported that year the total revenue topped $3 trillion, which was a record. 1.85 percent of $3 trillion is $55,500,000. That alone was dedicated to international affairs.

Another 2014 article from Mother Jones reported that “Israel has been the top recipient of American foreign aid for the last three decades.” Seriously?

When we aid Israel with money for the military, we are pushing for them to continue what they are doing to Palestine and its people.

The book Witness in Palestine by Anna Baltzer (co-founder of the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee), documents her journey to the two countries and sheds light on the cruel situation with first-hand accounts and photographs.

Israeli military is doing everything from stopping Palestinians at checkpoints to demolishing their houses, whether families are inside or not. They have built a wall that sanctions off Jewish settlements in Palestine as Israeli land, making Palestinian territory even smaller.

Not only is Israel acting unethically, they are inarguably violating United Nation laws. BBC News reported in 2009 that Israel was in direct violation of Article 49 of the Geneva Convention. The article states: “The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own population into the territories it occupies.”

Hard to argue with that.

As Americans, we are lucky to live in a developed and free country. Given that we are in a tight spot financially right now, those tax dollars are still being spent on funding the Israeli military. As tax-paying citizens, we should know where our money goes. It is not enough to pay them quietly and not ask questions. If we are going to spend this money on other countries, can we at least do some good?

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