Special Edition: Bringing Assistance to Israel in Line With Rights and U.S. Laws

U.S. Military Aid to Israel

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WEEKLY MONITOR

May 17, 2021

Bringing Assistance to Israel in Line With Rights and U.S. Laws

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, May 2021


A new brief from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace takes a critical look at the billion-dollar military aid relationship between the United States and Israel. The article notes the unique ways in which U.S. military aid to Israel, totaling more than $140 billion since 1946, evades traditional human rights protections and oversight procedures, posing a unique risk to civilians, especially to Palestinians living under occupation. 

Authored by Josh Ruebner, Zaha Hassan, and the Center for International Policy’s Salih Booker, the piece notes the unique political nature of American security aid to Israel, which has long enjoyed unconditional support from American lawmakers. But that is changing, albeit slowly. A recent bill introduced this past April sought to prohibit the use of U.S. military aid in the mistreatment of Palestinians, and though over 300 lawmakers wrote a letter in opposition to the bill, the very fact that the legislation received some support illustrates a slowly growing sense that Israeli security forces should be held accountable for their actions. 

The piece also takes a deeper dive into how Israel’s exceptional access to U.S. military aid makes it difficult for the U.S. to track its assistance or vet its recipients. Additionally, U.S. assistance is authorized to subsidize the Israeli arms industry, a benefit that no other country receiving U.S. aid enjoys. 

Israel falls well outside the norm of security relationships between the United States and other countries, posing a unique risk to oversight, accountability, civilian harm, and U.S. engagement with the region. Accordingly, the authors make several recommendations, including applying laws already in effect on vetting and human rights requirements to Israel, cutting the aid budget to reflect Israel’s own economic capabilities, improving transparency over weapons transfers, and ending the use of long term memorandum of understandings that commit taxpayers to multiyear aid packages. 

To read the full article, click here.  

 

Data Fact of the Week:

US Arms Sales and Security Assistance to Israel

The graphic above looks at U.S. security sector assistance and arms transfers to Israel and comes from SAM’s latest factsheet examining the security partnership between the two countries.  

Israel remains the largest historical recipient of U.S. military aid, and with Israeli strikes killing scores of civilians in Gaza, the U.S. role in supplying the arms and munitions being used for those strikes are raising fresh questions about the U.S. aid package. 

Click here for the full factsheet.
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