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US military aid to Israel fosters war crimes

The $38 billion military aid to Israel sustains war in Gaza and settler-colonialism in West Bank.   |


When Washington provides military aid to Israel, the United States is complicit in war crimes and the systematic destruction of the Palestinian people. The United States officially signed the “single largest pledge of bilateral military assistance in U.S. history,” according to the State department. The U.S. will provide Israel with an unprecedented $38 billion military aid package over a 10-year period, which includes $5 billion in missile defense. The strengthening of the American and Israeli war industries and the maintenance of the current balance of power of the Middle East is expected, but it is still morally reprehensible.

A Seven Billion Dollar Shortfall

The $38 billion military aid is a shortfall from the $45 billion package Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu originally asked for. The current military aid also establishes certain limitations — including the agreement that Israel cannot ask the U.S. for more money during the 10-year period. According to Haaretz, Israel “will have to spend all its American aid money on purchases from U.S. military industries” — a change from when Israel previously allowed to use its American aid money on its own military industries.

According to Stephen R. Shalom, a professor at William Paterson University, the new military aid will support Israel’s war crimes — including the systematic destruction of the Gaza Strip and the settler-colonization of the West Bank. Israel’s conduct is morally unacceptable and a violation of international law. The American military support of Israel is also a breach of the Leahy Law which states, “No assistance shall be furnished… to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.”

Reporter Ryan McNamara wrote in Jacobin Magazine on how “in just one 24-hour period during negotiations over the new aid package, Israel bombed Gaza and announced new settlements in the West Bank city of Hebron. How can the Palestinians — who have no air force, command and control, missile defense and tanks — defend themselves from one of the world’s most advanced military?

Over 2,000 Dead

As investigative journalist Max Blumenthal reported two years ago during Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s 51-day bombing campaign in the Gaza Strip left over 2,000 Palestinians dead — including over 500 children. Like all wars, women and children tend to be the victims who suffer the most. When Israel deliberately turns off its electricity to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the middle of winter “as punishment for joining the [International Criminal Court]” and restricts access to drinking water, they are harming women and children. When Israel calculates a “calorie count” to starve Palestinians during a blockade, this has little to do with Hamas. As Shalom points out, “After all, you don’t need fifth-generation stealth technology to blow up civilian houses in the Gaza Strip” — the most densely populated area in the world.

It is time for the United States to drop its military support for Israel now. This is a relationship strictly defined by American hegemonic and geopolitical interests — and it is literally killing people. The only way this will become possible is if the American people stands in solidarity with Palestinians by pressuring the government to stop its endorsement of Israel’s actions. Israel has already received $125 billion in aid from the United States since World War II. As Christians, we say no more to war and violence.


Your Turn.  Post a Comment

  1. Judith Mendelsohn Rood

    Mr. Yun is the Opinions editor at the Chimes. His attack on US military support for Israel is a ticket to the fast track in the secular world. Bashing Israel is the way to go if you want to be a journalist today. But what is the point of his article? The money has been allocated. Instead, he should be asking: How can both parties to the conflict be moved towards accommodating one another under the shadow of ISIS? Palestinian Christians are just as endangered by Salafism their co-religionists in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria. The Christians of the West Bank and Jordan could very well end up like the Assyrians who've been exiled from their ancestral homes and slaughtered in Syria and Iraq. In times such as these, we should be supporting smart Palestinian and Israeli peacemakers, like Professor Mohammad Dajani, who will be coming to speak to us in the Spring. Christians condemning Israel for war crimes will never be ambassadors for peace. Instead, they become part of the conflict. I'm glad that next week Biolans will be commemorating the life of our first academic dean, William Blackstone, to demonstrate Biola's historic humanitarian commitment to the Jewish people. This commitment was intended to benefit all of the peoples of the Middle East by sharing the good news that the God of Israel is our God, and that He is the Prince of Peace. This should be the witness of our community in the face of war. I hope that Biolans will attend the historic event at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale next Wednesday, September 28 at 1:00 pm. Please contact to reserve your place!
    Op-eds like this one only serve to weaken our witness to our faith in the God of Israel. We must not be tossed by politics but stand on the Rock, our Maker, and dedicate ourselves to love of neighbor and love of enemy. As a community, we should pray that the Lord would turn many to Him in repentance for their hate and violence. May God bless Israel and her neighbors with hearts of flesh. We should mourn with those who mourn, and serve those who are suffering. But most of all, we must pray for their salvation. May the children of Abraham turn to their father in repentance and find true Shalom in Yeshua, our Savior. September 21, 2016

  2. Nicole Foy

    Hey Justin, I really appreciate your attention to justice. Justice and holding wrongdoers accountable is important to how I live out my faith as well. However, as someone who has visited both Israel and the Palestinian territories, and spoken with Israelis, Palestinians, Israeli Arabs, settlers, refugees, Palestinian Muslims, and Christians from Gaza and the West Bank who lived through these things - I can tell you that the situation is far more complicated and muddied than what you have painted. I would love to talk to you (and anyone else) about it - email me! September 21, 2016

  3. Rateb Rabie

    As American Palestinian origin, all what I ask is to protect the Palestinian Christians as everyone else including me protecting the Christians in the Near East and not be neglected. Also I ask all the supporters of Israel and Palestine to support them Equally, then we can achieve Just peace, prosperity and Coexistence.
    God bless you all September 22, 2016

  4. Rev. Robert Fritch (Biola '81)

    Dear Justin, I am so saddened that you have tasted of the Palestinian Kool-aid that is being disseminated across the world. A lot of your "facts" are nothing but Palestinian propaganda to make Israel look like evil occupiers which they are not. Let me ask you Justin, how can Israel be occupiers of their own land which was given to them by divine right, an everlasting covenant made between God and Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and to their descendants. I am sure you have studied this in your Old Testament 101 class while a student there.

    Have you heard that one of the first courses new recruits into the IDF have to take is ethics and they cannot leave their bases without taking their ethics cards with them? During the Gaza war did you not even hear that before IDF forces attacked they dropped leaflets all over Gaza telling the civilians to leave because they were in a high target area, they also called everyone in the area where they were going to attack so that they could leave and not be harmed. IDF soldiers put themselves at personal risk so as to minimize any unnecessary casualties to civilians. Our military did not give such advanced notice to Germany and Japan before we leveled their cities to the ground while causing massive casualties to civilians.

    Let me remind you that Gaza and the West Bank are better known as the biblical area of Judea and Samaria, and there has been constant remnant of Jews who have lived in the land for the last 3,000 years. I would suggest your study and find out where the meaning of the Palestine came from, but also realize that you will never see the land of Israel mentioned in the bible as Palestine, it is always called Israel.

    As far as Israel killing 2,000 children that is a flat out lie, Israel loves life and loves the life of all children. Did you recently hear that Israel has bussed in Syrian refugees to be taken care of in Israeli hospitals, check it out.

    May I make a recommendation, that you stop reading Haaretz newspapers, that is the most liberal anti-Israel newspaper in Israel today!!

    The most sad thing of all is that is the the Palestinian government led by Hamas which has hurt the Palestinian people the most. All aid money that goes to the Palestinian people ends up in the pockets of Hamas, maybe you should look at the pictures of Abbas' mansion he lives in.

    I would recommend you read the book by Messianic Jewish author Sandra Teplinksky called "More Reasons to Support Israel" where she deals with the Palestinian issues.

    Also, I highly recommend you watch these You Tube videos where Messianic Jewish apologist Dr. Michael L. Brown answers the question if Israel is an evil occupier.

    Shalom! September 22, 2016

  5. Kees Van Hartingsveldt

    I was saddened as well to read the poorly informed article by Mr. Yun. I am thankful that in spite of Pres. Obama's cold attitude towards Israel, the US is still the main sponsor of the Iron Dome anti missile system, which has taken down a bunch of rockets fired into Israel from Gaza. And every country has the right to defend itself against agression.

    And Israel has been very conscientious in doing so, attempting to avoid civilian casualties as much as possible. Even though Hamas plants their rocket launchers in places to maximize civilian casualties so Israel can be accused of war crimes. But Hamas is the obstacle to peace. They indoctrinate their kids to hate the Jews. They don't want to negotiate directly with Israel. They don't want peace, they want to push the Israelis into the sea, and can't stand them, just because of the age old ugly thing called anti-semitism.

    I was glad to read in a previous article that Justin Yun knows about Bonhoeffer, who took a stand against anti-semitism in his time. We should do the same and support Israel, which encourages people of different persuasion to live together in freedom and shalom.

    Ultimately we hope and pray all parties there will embrace the Prince of Peace, Messiah Jesus!
    September 27, 2016

  6. Jill

    Justin, you need to very careful what you say. Make no mistake, God will hold you accountable for the way you speak about Israel and the influence that you exert over those who read your articles. I know you think you are doing the right thing, but you are not. Please take the time to research this thoroughly before writing further articles. Do not be afraid to explore the Israeli side and what they are coming from. What do you really have to lose? October 3, 2016

  7. Jill

    I would like everyone who reads this article to take a look at this webpage. October 6, 2016

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