US Slashes Humanitarian Aid to Palestinians, Boosts Military Aid to Israel by $1 Billion

Military aid increased despite Israeli forces injuring over 200 Palestinian children in six days.

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Despite Israeli-inflicted shootings and injuries to over 200 Palestinian children over a 6-day period earlier this month, the U.S. has promised to boost military aid to the country by at least $1 billion a year to a total of over $4 billion. The announcement comes on the heels of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, both of whom are condemning the Palestinian response to Israeli attacks. In the meantime, the Obama administration has cut humanitarian aid to the Palestinian Authority by $80 million, reducing their annual aid package to $290 million.

According to Haaretz, the U.S. recently pledged an additional $1 billion in aid for Israeli “self-defense,” on top of the $3.1 billion annual aid package Israel already receives from the U.S. Earlier this year, months before the recent violence in Israel and Palestine, the Pentagon proposed sending up to $1.9 billion in arms to the Israeli government, which would include 750 bunker buster bombs, 3,000 hellfire missiles, 250 mid-range air-to-air missiles, and 4,100 glide bombs, according to the Times of Israel.

The agreement would also allow the Israelis to purchase other military equipment and supplies including fuel, F-35 aircrafts and V-22 tilt-rotor aircrafts.

In a clear depiction of U.S. priorities, the Times of Israel reported that the U.S. will also be cutting humanitarian aid to the Palestinian Authority by $80 million in the wake of a Congressional resolution calling on Palestinians to stop “incitement” of violence against Israelis. The United Nations defines humanitarian aid as helping refugees, helping children, feeding the hungry, and healing the sick. Palestinians have been depending on humanitarian aid, particularly since Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” campaign in 2014 that killed 2,000 Palestinians — mostly civilians — and destroyed 100,000 homes. As Middle East Eye reported, only 5 percent of the $5 billion pledged ever arrived.

Violence and tension between Israelis and Palestinians have boiled over in recent weeks, causing many to note a different tone felt during this wave of force from periods in the past. According to Al Jazeera, 52 Palestinians and 8 Israelis have been killed since October 1. The Palestinian Ministry of Health reports at least 170 Gazans have been shot along the border by Israeli live fire since the start of October and hundreds of unarmed Palestinians and children have been victims of Israeli violence.

Israeli human rights groups released a joint statement last week, condemning the escalation of violence on both sides.

“Since the beginning of the current wave of violence, there has been a worrying trend to use firearms to kill Palestinians who have attacked Israelis or are suspected of such attacks.”

The United States’ apparent support of Israeli actions doesn’t stop financially. American media outlets don’t seem prepared to call this what it is. Reports out of Palestine either parrot Israeli state media outlets or openly vilify Palestinians.

According to CJ Werlemen of Mondoweiss, U.S. media coverage of this “Third Intifada” as unapologetically biased. “The rule for reporting the conflict seems to be: if it’s a Palestinian perpetrator, exaggerate his crime. If the perpetrator is an Israeli, the crime didn’t happen.”

Briana Madden is a California-based writer originally from Chicago. Her special interests include civil rights, gender equality, education and food justice. Follow her on Twitter: @briana_madden

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