Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Letters to the Editor

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Letters to the Editor

Article excerpt

Critical Issues

I am interested in learning more about the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Two critical issues on your Web site concern campaign contributions to members of Congress from pro-Israel PACs, and the substantial level of foreign aid the United States has provided to Israel since its creation in 1948. Rather than serving as an honest broker for peace in the Middle East, the United States has provided one-sided and absolute support for Israel in its conflict with the Arab world. This is due to the ability of the proIsrael lobby to drive American policy in the Middle East in favor of the Jewish state.

A major lever of influence the United States has over Israel is the over S3 billion in annual foreign aid Washington provides Tel Aviv. The United States could sever that aid as a signal of its displeasure over the continued refusal of Israel to return to its pre-1967 borders as the concession the Jewish state will have to make in order to establish a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. However, in deference to the wishes of the pro-Israel lobby, neither the White House nor Congress will grant serious consideration to using foreign aid as a lever to moderate Israel's hard-line stance in the so-called "peace process." The result remains a permanent stalemate in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Please let me know how I can contribute to the efforts of the American Educational Trust to inform the American public regarding the political realities of American policy in the Middle East.

Nicholas Laham, via e-mail

In addition to subscribing (which means you won't have to wait six weeks to read the latest issue on the Internet), you'll find a link to "Donate" on the left side of our Web site, , which offers several options for financially supporting the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Other options you'll find there include purchasing books from the AET Book Club and downloading and placing prepared newspaper advertisements. Patronizing our advertisers and letting them know it's because their ad appeared in the Washington Report will encourage their continued support as well. In short, every little bit helps!.

The Old Switcheroo

In the early '90s, then-Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu signed an agreement with the U.S. government promising to gradually, over a 10-year period, eliminate Israel's dependence on our annual S3 BILLION-plus U.S. "foreign aid." While this was hailed at the time as a major step in the right direction by "our" always and ever-so-cooperative (for anything Israeli) Congress, it very shrewdly locked in and guaranteed that such foreign aid would continue for another decade, supposedly becoming less each year.

Would you kindly either advise me directly of the specific details from your historical database or, better still, publish them in an upcoming edition of the Washington Report, or both?

I will ask my two senators and my representative why the U.S. is continuing to GIVE billion! of our tax dollars every year to Israel despite the above agreement. I will also attempt to get such information published in the local and national media and, of course, share it with the Washington Report.

Robert L. Gabier, Kingwood, TX

As our congressional correspondent, Shirl McArthur, most recently reported on p. 16 of the April 2005 Washington Report, in his periodic summation of total direct U.S. aid to Israel (currently at $105 billion), the agreement, which took effect in FY 1999, did not phase out all aid to Israel over 10 years. Instead it phases out economic aid, at $120 million per year over 10 years, while at the same time increasing military aid by half that amount, or $60 million per year. So far, Congress has stuck to the schedule, which is why economic aid to Israel now is much less (at S360 million) than the $1.2 billion it was at the time of the agreement, and military aid is more (at $2. …

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