It seems that the latest capture by the Israeli government of an arms shipment supposedly intended to the Palestinian Authority has caused all kinds of concern by both the Israeli government and the United States. It seems that the Israelis have been pounding Palestinian villages on a weekly basis, killing hundreds of innocent Palestinians, including a majority of children, with M1A1 Abram tanks supplied by the United States. In addition, the Israelis have used F-16 fighter jets, Apache and Cobra attack helicopters, 155mm howitzers, M-16 automatic rifles, M50 machine guns and many other weapons and ammunition supplied by the U.S. Government. In addition, the Israelis have used American supplied bulldozers to demolish thousands of Palestinian homes. Just last month, the Israelis demolished 70 Palestinian homes. These home demolitions have caused thousands of Palestinian men, women, and especially children without food or shelter.
This is a sin against mankind and yet we see no action from you or the State Department, especially since these weapons and ammunition are being used in offensive operations. These crimes would never be tolerated if it were similarly conducted by any other nation.
How can you call this a balanced Middle East Policy when you deny the Palestinians weapons and ammunition to defend themselves from a brutal occupation? Stones are not much protection against an M1A1 Abram tank.
If the United States is concerned about the violence in the Middle East, then your priorities are aimed in the wrong direction. If you’re going to deny the Palestinians weapons to defend themselves, then you must stop all military and economic aid to Israel. I make this request, not only because of budgetary constraints, but because Israel continues to disregard U.S. foreign aid policy. There are two important conditions for receiving U.S. military aid that Israel has violated repeatedly. Under the Arms Export Control Act, military hardware provided by FMS funds can be used only for defensive purposes or to maintain internal security. Israel violates both conditions and therefore should be withdrawn from receiving further aid.
Just recently Israeli soldiers killed 3 Palestinian teenagers with a tank shell for no reason whatsoever, other than their assumption that the teens looked suspicious. No spin of the tongue can describe this crime as a defensive measure or to maintain internal security.
I make this request and recommendation, not only because of Israel’s repeated violations of the foreign aid Arms Export Control Act, but as a means of bringing peace to the Middle East. The United States’ generous handouts to the Israeli Government has done nothing but bring more turmoil and violence to the Middle East and to the soils of the United States. If America wants peace in the Middle East, and is serious about fighting world terrorism, then it’s time to get tough with Israel, and end all military and economic aid to the Jewish State.
James J. David is a retired Brigadier General and a graduate of the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College, and the National Security Course, National Defense University, Washington DC. He served nearly 3 years of Army active duty in and around the Middle East from 1967-1969.