Friday, May 21, 2010

Palestine Note: "House passes $205m Israel military aid boost"

Jared Malsin, writing at the Palestine Note:
"After approving a resolution to give Israel an additional 205 million dollars in military aid on a voice vote Wednesday, the House officially passed the measure in a lopsided 410-4 roll call Thursday afternoon. The funds would allow Israel to build the Iron Dome missile defense system, designed to shoot down homemade projectiles fired by Palestinians from Gaza, and unguided Katyusha rockets fired from Lebanon. The appropriation is in addition to a record-breaking 3 billion dollars in military aid to Israel already requested by the Obama administration. The measure passed on a voice vote Wednesday, but Rep. Mike McMahon of Staten Island, New York, requested a count of yea and nay votes. Analysts said the vote count was likely requested to give pro-Israel lobbyists the ability to Fifteen representatives did not vote on the resolution. Voting against the measure were Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), and Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA). Other representatives who have criticized Israel in the past voted for the bill, such as Brian Baird (D-WA) and Keith Ellison (D-MN), who in January called on the Obama administration to pressure Israel to ease its blockade of Gaza. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak requested the funds from the US after Israel's armed forces excluded the project from their own proposed budget. Barak discussed the plan with top US officials during a visit to Washington earlier in May....Critics argue that the bill amounts to an unnecessary increase in aid to Israel and would further tilt a lopsided strategic equation in the MIddle East. Josh Ruebner, advocacy director for the Washington-based US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation told Palestine Note that the Iron Dome could "actually increase [Israel's] offensive capabilities" by "making it cost free for Israel to engage in aggression and wars." "
Read the full article here. Find out how much tax money your city, county, and Congressional district "contributes" in military aid to Israel at AidtoIsrael.org. Stay tuned for our analysis of this vote.