NYC sees job cuts while Israel gets richer
By William Hughes
The mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, plans to cut 10,000 city employees, and close 30 to 40 firehouses, unless the state bails out the municipal government. Meanwhile, the extreme right-wing regime of Israel's Ariel Sharon is rolling in greenbacks, thanks to the deep pockets of duped American taxpayers.
In the 'Omnibus Appropriation Bill', passed on February 13, US Congress gave the Likud government $600 million in economic aid, $2.1 billion in military aid, plus $60 million for something referred to as "refugee resettlement".
These freebies don't include the $10 billion in loan guarantees and $4 billion in additional military aid that the Sharonists demanded in January. And it's possible that even more money for Israel could be filtered to it, via the $79 billion Iraqi War budget.
US military loans to Israel, according to Congressional researchers, are "converted to grants", and eventually "forgiven by Congress". This is why the Israelis can boast that they have never "defaulted on a US government loan". Aid to Israel is also given in a lump sum at the start of the fiscal year, which leaves the US having to borrow from future revenues to pay it off.
Other countries, less favored, receive their aid in quarterly payments.
Professor Stephen Zunes of San Francisco University said: "Israel even lends some of the money back through US treasury bills and collects the additional interest".
Despite all the aid to Israel over the years, Zunes said, "We are less secure than ever, both in terms of US interests abroad and for individual Americans. There is a growing and increasing hostility of the average Arab toward the US. In the long term, peace and cooperation with the vast Arab world is far more important for US interests than this alliance with Israel."
Zunes wrote all of this before 9/11 and the US-led invasion of Iraq.
Ironies abound here. No one suffered more from 9/11 than New Yorkers, especially its police, firemen and rescue workers, whose jobs are now threatened, and their families .
According to Thomas Stauffer, a consulting economist, aid to Israel has really cost US taxpayers, from 1956-2002, about $1.7 trillion: around $5,700 per person!
At the center of the $1.7 trillion costs, Stauffer insisted, is the US backing of "Israel in its drawn-out, violent dispute with the Palestinians". This conflict has been caused by the refusal of the Israelis to give back the land that it stole from the Palestinians, in the 1967 War (as set out in UN Security Council Resolution 242).
Stauffer figures the "bill adds up to more than twice the cost of the Vietnam war".
His report shows that "US policy and trade sanctions reduce US exports to the Middle East about $5 billion a year, costing 70,000 or so American jobs."
He adds: "Not requiring Israel to use its US aid to buy American goods, as is usual in foreign aid, costs another 125,000 jobs".
Israel had also blocked some major US arms sales, such as 15 fighter aircraft to Saudi Arabia in the mid-1980s. Stauffer indicates that cost at "$40 billion over 10 years".
Fear that the Arab nations might use their oil clout against them has required the US to set up a Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The economist set that cost, conservatively, at around $134 billion.
How much longer are the American people going to put up with this gross distortion of priorities that mocks their country?
* William Hughes is an attorney and the author of Andrew Jackson vs. New World Order.