Saturday, November 10, 2007

Israel takes a big bite. On US Foreign Aid disproportionality and dialing for dollars

Your US tax dollars at work? Whoa. Should we put a check on that checkbook?A fellow blogger laments in a vintage post.

Tom Malthaner writes: Although three months past schedule and 100 percent over budget, the renovation of Shuhada Street in Hebron was finally completed... The project manager said the reason for the delay and cost overruns was the sabotage of the project by the Israeli settlers of the Beit Hadassah settlement complex in Hebron.

They broke the street lights, stoned project workers, shot out the windows of bulldozers and other heavy equipment with pellet guns, broke paving stones before they were laid and now have defaced again the homes and shops of Palestinians with graffiti. The settlers did not want Shuhada St. opened to Palestinian traffic as was agreed to under Oslo 2.

This renovation project is paid forby USAID funds and it makes me angry that my tax dollars have paid for improvements that have been destroyed by the settlers.

Most Americans are not aware how much of their tax revenue our government sends to Israel. For the fiscal year ending in September 30, 1997, the U.S. had given Israel $6.72 billion: $6.194 billion falls under Israel's foreign aid allotment and $526 million comes from agencies such as the Department of Commerce, the U.S. Information Agency and the Pentagon. The $6.72 billion figure does not include loan guarantees and annual compound interest totalling $3.122 billion the U.S. pays on money borrowed to give to Israel.

It does not include the cost to U.S. taxpayers of IRS tax exemptions that donors can claim when they donate money to Israeli charities. (Donors claim approximately $1 billion in Federal tax deductions annually. This ultimately costs other U.S. tax payers $280 million to $390 million.)

When grant, loans, interest and tax deductions are added together for the fiscal year ending in September 30, 1997, our special relationship with Israel cost U.S. taxpayers over $10 billion. Since 1949 the U.S. has given Israel a total of $83.205 billion. The interest costs borne by U.S. tax payers on behalf of Israel are $49.937 billion, thus making the total amount of aid given to Israel since 1949 $133.132 billion. This may mean that U.S. government has given more federal aid to the average Israeli citizen in a given year than it has given to the average American citizen.

Ten years have past and its even more taxing now.

It angers me to see Israeli settlers from Hebron destroy improvements made to Shuhada Street with my tax money. Also, it disturbs me that my government is giving over $10 billion to a country that is more prosperous than most of the other countries in the world and uses much of its money for strengthening its military and the oppression of the Palestinian people that share Judea and Samaria and are locked inside Gaza.

U.S. Financial Aid To Israel: Figures, Facts, and Impact Summary
Benefits to Israel of U.S. Aid
Since 1949 (As of November 1, 1997)
Foreign Aid Grants and Loans $74,157,600,000
Other U.S. Aid (12.2% of Foreign Aid) $9,047,227,200
Interest to Israel from Advanced Payments $1,650,000,000
Grand Total $84,854,827,200
Total Benefits per Israeli $14,630
Cost to U.S. Taxpayers of U.S. Aid to Israel
Grand Total $84,854,827,200
Interest Costs Borne by U.S. $49,936,680,000
Total Cost to U.S. Taxpayers $134,791,507,200
Total Taxpayer Cost per Israeli $23,240

In contrast, US assistance to the Palestinians is just a fraction: $1.9 bn. (Yet half of Palestinians live in poverty today, a quarter of the population is unemployed, and a quarter of the men have been held in Israeli prisons.) All this is overshadowed, of course, by the cost of the Iraq war - $177m per day and now enduring longer than US combat in World War II.
Checkpoint excesses? What's your perspective? Check the facts. And please note that this little settler girl is not actually at point blank range of this soldier's rifle. Photos frequently can deceive...even if they have not been photoshopped or changed.
Israelity bites.

No comments: