The state of Israel — which, the last time I checked, was both a foreign and a sovereign nation — wants the American taxpayers to cough up $2.2 billion in addition to our regular $3 billion-or-so annual subsidy to pay for the withdrawal from Gaza.
Unless the American people raise hell about this, it’s a done deal. In Washington, whatever Israel wants, Israel gets. Nevertheless, there are several reasons why the American people should rebel at the latest brazen attack on our treasury by Israel and its American supporters.
First, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided unilaterally to withdraw from Gaza. This was in lieu of following the president’s peace plan, which Sharon has ignored from the very beginning. Where is it written, on stone or parchment or paper, that the head of a foreign government can decide to do something unilaterally and automatically send the bill to the American taxpayers? We will derive no benefits at all from the withdrawal.
Furthermore, Sharon’s adviser spilled the beans in an Israeli newspaper interview. The withdrawal from Gaza is not part of any peace plan. It was just an excuse to put off serious peace negotiations. Sharon will remove about 8,000 settlers from Gaza who are a pain in the government’s rear end anyway, shut down four tiny settlements on the West Bank, and that’s it. As Sharon’s adviser admitted, there won’t be any serious negotiations with the Palestinians until they "turn into Finns."
A normal president would view Sharon’s actions as unacceptable and his casual expectation that we would pay for it as a personal insult. President George Bush, however, when it comes to Israel, is just like Congress — a candy-bottom. That’s why, despite all of our problems, all of our deficits, all of our debts, the U.S. government has gifted Israel with more than $90 billion in recent decades. If Washington gives in, we taxpayers will be spending about $227,000 per Jewish settler. That’s a sporty moving expense.
We paid for the Camp David peace treaty in the 1970s — some $4 billion to Israel to get out of Egyptian territory it had no business occupying in the first place. And as part of that deal, apparently we’ve been paying Egypt an annual bribe of $2 billion or so a year for having signed the peace treaty.
The proper American attitude should be: "We think, Israel, it is in your interests to make peace with your Arab neighbors. That’s your decision, however; if you would prefer to remain at war, that’s OK with us, because either way — peace or war — we aren’t going to pay for it."
As for those Christian cultists who take one verse out of a very large Jewish Bible and claim that it binds us to help Israel, I would just say that if you believe God wishes modern Zionists to occupy modern Palestine, let Him pay for it. When did we get appointed fiscal agent for Almighty God? And when did God ever need anybody’s help to do whatever he wanted to do? And where is it written in the Constitution that Congress can tax the American people and hand the money out as a gift to foreign countries?
It’s been said of the suicide bombers that they hate us more than they love life. Well, the American people are going to have to teach their congressional representatives and senators to fear them more than they fear the Israeli lobby, or the American people will continue to be not only taxed unjustly, but dragged into Israel’s quarrels in the Middle East.
I always add (not that it does any good as far as hostile reactions from the Israel First crowd are concerned) that the Israeli lobby has every right to ask for anything it wants. The fault is not with the lobby; it’s with the congressional representatives and senators who betray their oath of office and betray you in order to placate a lobby that has shown itself to be not only effective but vindictive.
But, hey, it’s your country. If you wish to allow some weak-willed politicians to lay it to waste and destroy the future for your children and grandchildren, that’s your decision. But I’m a strong believer that even people who wish to commit suicide should know what they are doing.
Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years. Write to Charley Reese at P.O. Box 2446, Orlando, FL 32802.