How Much Funding Does Israel Receive From The USA, And Is It Justified?
In 2016, the U.S. and Israel signed a $38 billion military aid package.
Visualizing Palestine (VP) uses data to make info-graphics about various topics related to Israel and Palestine.
After the Obama administration signed an agreement (on 14 Sep 2016) to increase foreign military financing to Israel by a whopping 27%, VP put together the following info-graphic using these two sources of information:
According to Jeremy M. Sharp’s 2018 report titled The Congressional Research Service’s report “U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel”, to date, the U.S. gave Israel (in both economic and military aid) a total of $3.7 billion per year in current, or non-inflation-adjusted dollars.
You could think of that as $10.1 million per day.
In per capita terms, you could think of that as the United States giving each Israeli a direct subsidy worth about $500 per year. [ [Source: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt]
Richard H. Curtiss, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (WRMEA), has calculated that
the total of German assistance to the Israeli government, Israeli individuals and Israeli private institutions has been some $31 billion or $5,345 per capita.
Additionally, and often ignored in these statistics and reports, Israel receives a hefty chunk of aid (from the U.S. and other international sources) meant for the Palestinians.
This is because of the 1994 economic agreement with the Palestinian Authority called the Paris Protocol.
Shir Hever’s research estimates that at least 72% of international aid ends up in the Israeli economy.
Hever, who is an economic researcher based at the Israeli NGO called Alternative Information Centre (AIC) in Jerusalem, goes on to conclude that the economic profit Israel receives through aid to the PA is an incentive for Israel to keep Gaza on the brink of disaster [see Who profits from keeping Gaza on the brink of humanitarian catastrophe?] and the West Bank economy hostage:
The question arises of whether the Israeli government would end the occupation if aid ceased? Would the Israeli authorities rebuild the Civil Administration to assume their responsibilities under IHL in place of international donors? Or would they remain indifferent to a mass humanitarian disaster that could cost the lives of thousands of Palestinians? The tremendous moral implications of these questions indicate that aid is not something to be toyed with when so many lives are at stake.
Note: AIC has been under attack by the Israeli government.
Currently most of U.S. aid to Israel goes to the military and the arms industry, some of it in joint projects.
Like Hever, Jeff Halper, an expert on Israel’s arms and surveillance technology industries, also believes that Israel perpetuates the military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip because of economic gain. In Halper’s case, he has concluded that the U.S.-subsidized weapons industry in Israel uses Palestinians as guinea pigs on whom to test weapons before selling them worldwide.
So, is such aid to Israel justified? Not in my books!
The US and Israel justify it as an investment in Israel’s security in the region. But even if you believe in the ideological (see Defining Zionism: The belief that Israel belongs to the entire Jewish people) and political reasons for supporting an Apartheid settler-colonial Jewish state (see Israeli Settler Colonialism Is The Obstacle To Peace) in the Arab world, surely, such a massive piling up of weapons on the part of a state known to have nuclear weapons and is arrayed against a basically unarmed people cannot be justified.
An additional important reason is that the aid benefits the arms industry of both countries (Israel is accused of testing experimental weapons on Palestinian civilians in Gaza. It also experiments with unmanned drones as crowd control instruments, dropping tear gas on Palestinian demonstrators.). The 2016 packet directs more money back toward the United States because it eliminates
a provision in the previous aid agreement that allowed Israel to spend 26 percent of its Foreign Military Financing on weaponry and other resources produced within Israel, rather than in the United States — a provision intended to help Israel build its own defense industry. Now that Israel’s defense industry has developed, Dalton said, that money will go toward purchases benefitting the defense industry in the United States.
If, on the other hand, you believe that Israel’s Apartheid regime, its military occupation and continued denial of Palestinian rights, especially the right of return, are an abomination, you can only see such aid as an abomination.
Here is another info-graphic by VP that expresses my sentiment (I hope VP will soon upgrade it with data that goes beyond 2009):
Note: The above was first published (and then collapsed) on Quora on 21 March 2019 as an answer to the question How much funding does Israel receive from the USA, and is it justified?