Democratic Lawmakers Make Token Threat to Cut Israeli Aid if West Bank Annexation Proceeds

House representatives calling for aid to Israel to be cut if illegal annexation of the West Bank happens.

By David Icke Turner

Photo by Ahmed Abu Hameeda

 

Israeli plans to annex the occupied West Bank appear to be moving forward as planned. Though President Donald Trump has greenlit the move, a few U.S. lawmakers are threatening to cut Israel’s 5 billion+ in aid received from American taxpayers. Whether these threats have any teeth remains to be seen. Likely not.

To be clear, this annexation is undoubtedly against international law and is a step in the direction of completely nullifying Palestinians self-determination.

“Annexation is illegal. Period,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a recently published statement. “Any annexation. Whether it is 30 percent of the West Bank, or 5 percent,” she said. She called upon Israel to “listen to its own former senior officials and generals, as well as to the multitude of voices around the world, warning it not to proceed along this dangerous path.”

Several representatives in the US Congress have proposed cutting aid to Israel if plans to annex the occupied West Bank move forward. The lawmakes said any annexation would “lay the groundwork for Israel becoming an apartheid state.”

Most on the ground observers would agree that Israel has already reached apartheid state status.  The delicate nature in which these congress members even mentioned apartheid underscores the general apprehension of U.S. lawmakes to call out Israel for it’s human rights abuses. 

House representatives Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Betty McCollum and Pramila Jayapal are proposing the cuts in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The letter has since been circulated for signature among other representatives. The likelihood it gains traction is in doubt given Israel’s far reaching lobbying apparatus within U.S. electoral politics. 

“Should the Israeli government continue down this path, we will work to ensure non-recognition of annexed territories as well as pursue legislation that conditions the $3.8 billion in U.S. military funding to Israel to ensure that U.S. taxpayers are not supporting annexation in any way,” the letter reads. “We will include human rights conditions and the withholding of funds for the offshore procurement of Israeli weapons equal to or exceeding the amount the Israeli government spends annually to fund settlements, as well as the policies and practices that sustain and enable them.”

Though the letter describes concrete repercussions to the illegal Israeli annexation of Palestinian land, a mere 12 congressional members have signed on. Yesterday, the letter was signed by Senator Bernie Sanders.

It is even rarer for members of Congress to call for Israel to pay any price for its actions.

The letter goes on to say “human rights conditions and the withholding of funds for the offshore procurement of Israeli weapons equal to or exceeding the amount the Israeli government spends annually to fund settlements, as well as the policies and practices that sustain and enable them.”

In 2019, U.S. taxpayers provided $3.8 billion in military aid to Israel. The apartheid state also received $8 billion in loan guarantees. The U.S. military and intelligence agencies share an almost unitary command structure and collaborate on military movements within the region. 

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