Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Not Again

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Not Again

Article excerpt

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. …

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