PRO/CON: The Current Israel Situation
PRO: By Myles Gollop
The state of Israel has been our greatest (and only) ally in the Middle East since it was established in 1948. They are the West’s glimmer of hope, representing a society with freedom of expression regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation. Since 1985, the US has invested an average of $3 billion annually to Israel. In return, Israel uses 70 percent of its American aid on American military equipment, providing defense jobs in the US and bolstering Israeli defenses. A total of less than one percent of the American budget is spent on foreign aid, and even less of that is spent on Israel.
Israel has a right to defend itself, especially against domestic terrorism. Hamas will never be satisfied until Jewish Israel is completely destroyed, killing and bombing anything that gets in their way including innocent women and children. Israel has opposite morals, avoiding civilians. Hamas often takes advantage of Israel’s good ethics, using their own people as human shields. Palestine has started two wars in rebellion against Israel, and lost both decisively. By now, they should have learned their lesson: mess with Israel, and there will be retaliation.
It is in our best interest to support Israel. They are a peace-loving nation who share our interests and values. When Israel is strong, democracy is strong.
As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once said, “If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel.”
CON: By Jacob Hiles
Right now in America, we are facing many problems. We are facing an over 20-year record high in illegal border crossings in a single month. One of our major pipelines is so vulnerable it got hacked and caused gas prices to rise and, in some places, have a shortage. We have high inflation in both the decreasing value of the dollar and increased prices. Our crime rates are back to 1990s levels. America is still facing the restrictions and regulations caused by covid and we will continue to experience the economic fallout from the lockdown. And yet, instead of talking about any of these major domestic issues, many of our politicians care more about a foreign conflict halfway way across the globe.
Tensions have flared up in the middle East again between Israel and Palestine. That started up again when Israel put in place a plan to evict Palestinians from an East Jerusalem neighborhood. The Palestinians retaliated by firing rockets into Israeli-controlled land. Most were blocked by Israel’s “iron dome” system, a defense system that can shoot down rockets and missiles being fired at Israel. Israel fired their missiles back at Palestine. The two countries have exchanged fire multiple times since. The death toll is six Israelis, including one soldier, and at least 65 Palestinians, including 16 children and at least 3 women. This is the most extreme confrontation between the two peoples since 2014. Israeli supporters claim that Palestine wants to exterminate all Jews and the Palestine supporters claim that they want to take back land stolen from them in1948 and that the Israelis want to ethnically cleanse Palestine. They both are likely exaggerating with the genocide claims because the Palestinians have no power to do it if they wanted and the Israelites have all the power to do it if they wanted and don’t. However, the Israelites have been encroaching on and taking Palestinian land.
What does any of that have to do with America? Nothing. You might feel sympathy for the side you support, but the American government is not in a position to spend its time or resources on helping fight in a centuries-long blood feud halfway across the world in a desert. But we still are spending our time and resources helping fight this battle when they should be spent fixing domestic issues. Three of the top four countries that receive US foreign aid per year are Israel ($3.3 Billion), Jordan ($1.72 Billion) and Egypt ($1.46 Billion). They all receive as much as they do to benefit Israel. According to the US Department of State, one of the goals of aid to Jordan is to promote peace between Palestinians and Israel. In 1978, the US significantly increased the money given to Egypt to get them to sign Egypt- Israel Peace Deal. That means $6.48 billion is spent in aid that directly or indirectly benefits Israel. For $6.48 billion you would hope that Israel would be our greatest ally.
However, Israel is not our greatest ally. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, Israel has had a robust technological trade operation with the US since the 1980s. That means that the US shares information about new technologies along with giving the new technologies. Israel then turns around and sells that technology to China, the biggest rival to the US on the international stage. Not only does “our greatest ally” sell our technology to China, but it also spies on the US. In 2019, according to Politico, Israel was accused of setting up spying devices near the White House. They were also flagged as a spy threat in a leaked NSA document. Finally, the most explicit example of Israeli spying is Jonathan Pollard. Pollard was an American who worked in a civilian position in the US navy in the 80s. He was caught selling US military secrets to Israel and received a life sentence. He got out after 30 years and, after five years of parole, left for Israel. When he arrived, the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, gave Pollard a hero’s welcome and personally met with the spy at his arrival. Pollard later gave an interview to an Israeli newspaper where he expressed no remorse for his betrayal of America and said he enjoys his new life in Israel because the people know he is willing to sacrifice his life for Israel. In 2002, Netanyahu, testifying to the US congress under oath as a private citizen, pushed the narrative that there was a nuclear threat from Iraq and that taking out Sudam would bring peace to the Middle East. Both of these claims were lies and successfully got the US to needlessly go to war with Iraq. The same man who helped get America to send thousands of young American men to die and spend an estimated $1.9 trillion is now the current elected Prime Minister of “our greatest ally.” We give Israel $3.3 Billion, arguably more, and in return, we get spied on, our technology sold to our rivals and told lies that cost us thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. This is not even taking into account things like Israel’s questionable procurement of nuclear bombs against the wishes of the US, the USS Liberty incident, and other examples that a country that receives $3.3 billion shouldn’t be doing.
Very few American politicians support Palestine, therefore less of this will be spent on Palestine. The ones that do expressly support Palestine over Israel do so because of alleged human rights violations on the side of Israel. These so-called violations consist of taking the land from Palestinians and hitting Palestinians with missiles, which are generally only fired in retaliation to Palestinian rockets being fired at Israel.
Countries have always and continue to have the ability to conquer other lands if they are able. It is absurd to think that we as a species have outgrown the conquering of land in less than a century. However, in the modern-day, it is not as useful as it once was and isn’t used as often anymore. Countries also have a right to defend themselves. That applies to both Palestine and Israel. When Israel tries to take Palestinian land, the Palestinians can defend themselves and retaliate. When Palestine fires rockets at Israel, Israel can defend itself and also retaliate.
America should not be intervening and supporting anything that is not in the interest of the American people, which includes either side of the Israel/ Palestine conflict. America should spend its time, resources and money on things that would benefit the American people like fixing real infrastructure, protecting our border, stopping inflation, helping Americans who were affected by the pandemic, stopping crime or ending the opioid epidemic in America.