Sunday, September 23, 2007
Since 1973, Israel has cost the United States about $1.6 trillion.
If divided by today's population, that is more than $5,700 per person.
The Christian Science Monitor
December 09, 2002Since 1973, Israel has cost the United States about $1.6 trillion. If divided by today's population, that is more than $5,700 per person.This is an estimate by Thomas Stauffer, a consulting economist inWashington. For decades, his analyses of the Middle East scene have made hima frequent thorn in the side of the Israel lobby.For the first time in many years, Mr. Stauffer has tallied the total cost tothe US of its backing of Israel in its drawn-out, violent dispute with thePalestinians. So far, he figures, the bill adds up to more than twice thecost of the Vietnam War.And now Israel wants more.
In a meeting at the White House late last month,Israeli officials made a pitch for $4 billion in additional military aid todefray the rising costs of dealing with the intifada and suicide bombings.They also asked for more than $8 billion in loan guarantees to help thecountry's recession-bound economy.
Considering Israel's deep economic troubles, Stauffer doubts the Israelbonds covered by the loan guarantees will ever be repaid. The bonds arelikely to be structured so they don't pay interest until they reachmaturity. If Stauffer is right, the US would end up paying both principaland interest, perhaps 10 years out.
Israel's request could be part of a supplemental spending bill that's likelyto be passed early next year, perhaps wrapped in with the cost of a war withIraq.Israel is the largest recipient of US foreign aid. It is already due to get$2.04 billion in military assistance and $720 million in economic aid infiscal 2003.
It has been getting $3 billion a year for years.Adjusting the official aid to 2001 dollars in purchasing power, Israel hasbeen given $240 billion since 1973, Stauffer reckons. In addition, the UShas given Egypt $117 billion and Jordan $22 billion in foreign aid in returnfor signing peace treaties with Israel."Consequently, politically, if not administratively, those outlays are partof the total package of support for Israel," argues Stauffer in a lecture onthe total costs of US Middle East policy, commissioned by the US Army WarCollege, for a recent conference at the University of Maine.
These foreign-aid costs are well known. Many Americans would probably say itis money well spent to support a beleaguered democracy of some strategicinterest. But Stauffer wonders if Americans are aware of the full bill forsupporting Israel since some costs, if not hidden, are little known.
One huge cost is not secret. It is the higher cost of oil and other economicdamage to the US after Israel-Arab wars.In 1973, for instance, Arab nations attacked Israel in an attempt to winback territories Israel had conquered in the 1967 war. President Nixonresupplied Israel with US arms, triggering the Arab oil embargo against theUS.That shortfall in oil deliveries kicked off a deep recession. The US lost$420 billion (in 2001 dollars) of output as a result, Stauffer calculates.And a boost in oil prices cost another $450 billion.
Afraid that Arab nations might use their oil clout again, the US set up aStrategic Petroleum Reserve. That has since cost, conservatively, $134billion, Stauffer reckons.Other US help includes:. US Jewish charities and organizations have remitted grants or boughtIsrael bonds worth $50 billion to $60 billion. Though private in origin, themoney is "a net drain" on the United States economy, says Stauffer..
The US has already guaranteed $10 billion in commercial loans to Israel,and $600 million in "housing loans." (See editor's note below.) Staufferexpects the US Treasury to cover these.. The US has given $2.5 billion to support Israel's Lavi fighter and Arrowmissile projects.. Israel buys discounted, serviceable "excess" US military equipment.Stauffer says these discounts amount to "several billion dollars" overrecent years..
Israel uses roughly 40 percent of its $1.8 billion per year in militaryaid, ostensibly earmarked for purchase of US weapons, to buy Israeli-madehardware. It also has won the right to require the Defense Department or USdefense contractors to buy Israeli-made equipment or subsystems, paying 50to 60 cents on every defense dollar the US gives to Israel.US help, financial and technical, has enabled Israel to become a majorweapons supplier.
Weapons make up almost half of Israel's manufacturedexports. US defense contractors often resent the buy-Israel requirements andthe extra competition subsidized by US taxpayers.. US policy and trade sanctions reduce US exports to the Middle East about$5 billion a year, costing 70,000 or so American jobs, Stauffer estimates.
Not requiring Israel to use its US aid to buy American goods, as is usual inforeign aid, costs another 125,000 jobs.. Israel has blocked some major US arms sales, such as F-15 fighter aircraftto Saudi Arabia in the mid-1980s. That cost $40 billion over 10 years, saysStauffer.Stauffer's list will be controversial. He's been assisted in this researchby a number of mostly retired military or diplomatic officials who do not gopublic for fear of being labeled anti-Semitic if they criticize America'spolicies toward Israel.Comment: This article was published in 2002. Since then, the U.S. hascontinued to dump billions and billions of dollars on Israel, even as the USeconomy stumbles and millions of Americans struggle to find a job or makeends meet.
The question of why the U.S. supports Israel with obscene amounts of money and sacrifices the well-being of its own citizens has neverbeen answered; in fact, few have ever even dared to ask the question.
Thosewho have asked have been branded "anti-Semitic". Apparently, loyalty to theIsraeli Zionists takes precedence over loyalty to the American people in the eyes of the vast majority of recent U.S. leaders.
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