The U.S. Speaker of the House has had enough. According to Haaretz, Republican John Boehner, a staunch supporter of everything Israeli, declared his disapproval of the current administration’s policies, stating that Barack Obama’s pressure on Israel crosses the line.
To better understand Boehner’s mindset, I decided to compile a non-comprehensive list of pressures Obama is allegedly directing towards Israel.
In 2011, under the policies implemented by the Obama Administration, each American taxpayer will have paid $21.59 in military aid to Israel.
By the end of the 2011 fiscal year, Obama will have given Israel $3 billion in foreign military financing. By the end of Obama’s four years as President, he will have given Israel between $11.41 and $12 billion in military aid alone. This is enough to provide over 9.2 million Americans with guaranteed primary care for ten years.
Since 2007, military aid to Israel has increased by roughly $150 million every year, and the Obama administration has yet to alter this policy in any way.
In March 2010, Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met for a private meeting. Obama proposed a plan to Netanyahu that involved halting settlement building. Netanyahu responded with a flowchart diagram demonstrating that permission for settlement expansion does not go directly through him and that, as a result, he lacks knowledge of these plans and is unable to adequately intervene. Settlement building continues today.
In 2009, Obama ordered a 10-month settlement freeze during which he allowed Israel to immediately construct 3,000 housing units in occupied East Jerusalem and to further expand illegal settlements and outposts in the West Bank. By the end of the freeze, Israel had begun construction on 1,600 more housing units in Jerusalem.
At the beginning of his term, Obama authorized the sale of 55 “bunker busters” to Israel. The sale of these 5,000-pound penetrating bombs was kept under wraps for over two years in an effort to quell any suspicion that Israel might be preparing for war with Iran.
After Palestine’s successful UNESCO bid, Obama withdrew a total of $80 million worth of funding to the United Nations agency as a show of support for Israel’s rejection of Palestinian self-sovereignty.
Since the failure of the peace talks in 2010, Obama has repeatedly promised to veto or undermine any and every attempt at a unilateral declaration of Palestinian independence.
Obama has yet to break his silence after Israeli commandos stormed the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and killed nine unarmed activists, one of whom was an American citizen.
In March 2010, the Obama administration proposed a bill to fund Israel with $205 million for the purchase of ten Iron Dome batteries. H.R. 5327 was passed by the House of Representatives two months later.
The Obama administration, in 2010, approved a deal to sell to Israel twenty F-35 fighter jets to be purchased entirely with American tax dollars. The fighter jets are all custom-designed to meet the requirements of the Israeli Air Force.
In July 2010, the Secretary of State’s office reaffirmed Obama’s commitment to preserving Israel’s qualitative military edge in the Middle East.
Israel is permitted to accrue interest on American donations once the funds are disbursed to the Federal Reserve Bank. The collected interest can be used to pay off any outstanding Israeli debts to America.
Since 2009, Obama has spent at least $55 million on “resettlement” projects for Jews wishing to move to Israel.
During Obama’s first year in office, his administration authorized a $3.9 million donation to help sustain Israeli schools and hospitals. First, this amount ties for the largest donation ever awarded to this particular project by any American President. Second, Obama has yet to allocate funds for Palestinian schools and hospitals.
Obama received praise from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), American Jewish Committee (AJC), and Netanyahu himself after working to protect Israeli diplomats during a rally in front of the Israeli embassy in Cairo.
Keeping this information in mind, it becomes clear to see why Boehner is so dissatisfied with Obama: this aid isn’t good enough. If Israel intends to maintain a siege on Gaza, operate hundreds of checkpoints within the West Bank, forcefully remove tens of thousands of indigenous Bedouin from their homes in the Negev, launch an assault on Iran, establish a lobby organization to frame Iran as the aggressor, build statues of Gilad Shalit, expand dozens of settlements and outposts, finish construction of the Apartheid Wall, purchase state-of-the-art bulldozers to uproot Palestinian olive trees, design military gear for late-night abduction missions in Ramallah, train an entire army on how to almost sink Flotilla boats, and pay more students to eat Sabra hummus, then it needs all the money and support it can get.
“U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel” by Jeremy M. Sharp of the Congressional Research Service
If Americans Knew
National Jewish Democratic Council
U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation