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April 2009 Postcard

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DEAR SENATOR:

Please halt U.S. military aid to Israel. As our own economy falters, we cannot afford to give Israel an average of $7 million per day.

On Feb. 23, Amnesty International called for an immediate arms embargo on Israel and all Palestinian armed groups. Amnesty International also asked for a suspension of U.S. military aid to Israel.

I hope Special Envoy George Mitchell and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will convince the White House and Congress to cut military aid as a response to Israel’s relentless attacks on Gaza and the West Bank, its economic blockade of Gaza, and its illegal settlement activities in the occupied West Bank. Israel’s extensive use of U.S.-made weaponry during its wars on Gaza and Lebanon, including cluster bombs, white phosphorus artillery shells, 500 lb. bombs and Hellfire missiles, shames this great nation—again and again. 


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Palestinian schoolchildren walk amid the rubble of their Islamic school, destroyed in an Israeli missile strike, in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah, Jan. 25, 2009. (AFP photo/Said Khatib).
   

“As the major supplier of weapons to Israel, the USA has a particular obligation to stop any supply that contributes to gross violations of the laws of war and of human rights,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa program director. “To a large extent, Israel’s military offensive in Gaza was carried out with weapons, munitions and military equipment supplied by the USA and paid for with U.S. taxpayers’ money.”

According to the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the United States and Israel in 2007, the 2010 U.S. federal budget will include $2.775 billion in military aid to Israel. In 2009 U.S. taxpayers provided Israel with $2.55 billion to spend on weaponry. Israel, with the fifth most powerful army in the world, is now a wealthy state with a per capita income roughly equal to that of South Korea or Spain. Why are we footing the bill for its army and illegal settlements?

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