In light of the recent, awe-inspiring revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa catalyzed by a collective resentment of corrupt dictatorship regimes, the Israeli government has found yet another opportunity to capitalize financially. In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the following:
It might be wise to invest another $20 billion to upgrade the security of Israel for the next generation or so….A strong, responsible Israel can become a stabilizer in such a turbulent region.
Israel Considers Military ‘Upgrade’, by Richard Boudreaux and Bill Spindle, Wall Street Journal
In the most objective sense, any assessment of the Israeli military’s most recent incursions in the Gaza Strip or of the government’s financial and legal support of illegal settlements will conclude that the general concept of responsibility is not one of Israel’s priorities. Providing Israel with military aid in the form of physical weaponry or a lump sum check legitimizes further systematic oppression of the Palestinian people and finances the forceful and undoubtedly violent colonization of the Occupied Territories. I am certain the average American taxpayer would prefer to see his or her hard-earned money put towards something more productive.
Every aspect of the Arab revolutions is admirable and I, along with any other true proponent of representative democracy, welcome the changes with open arms. But since the first day of the Tunisian revolution, I’ve been wary of Israel’s military action, particularly in the Gaza Strip. With the world’s focus shifted to the streets of Tunis, Cairo, and now Tripoli, there has been less stringent coverage of the occupation.
I recently spoke to a university student in Gaza City who told me that air raids have become a daily – and even nightly – occurrence. Living conditions continue to reach all-time lows. While Prime Minister Netanyahu feigns interest in a new era of governance in the Middle East, his very own government enforces a strangling siege intended to push Gaza to the “brink of collapse,” as revealed by a Wikileaks cable and confirmed by various Israeli officials. This is the source of turbulence in the region and American investment in Israel’s military isn’t going to improve or even stabilize the current situation.
I’d like to provide a quick reminder of what previous military “upgrades” and investments have done to stabilize the region: