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4681and the Congressional Siege on Palestinians
Why Americans Can't Support "Palestinian
AIPAC's 290 Congressional co-sponsors and staffers are facing
massive opposition in their bid to pass punitive legislation on Palestinians. An array of organized opposition from the American
Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Council for the National Interest, Council on Arab
Islamic Relations, and Jewish groups such as the Israel Policy Forum, Americans for Peace
Now, and Jewish Alliance for Justice has swamped representative offices with calls to
scuttle the legislation.
The bill makes a number of outrageous and purposefully
unrealistic demands on the Palestinian Authority while selectively ignoring the history of
Israel. Like other legislation, the H.R. 4681
makes no mention of Israeli actions driving the cycle of violence in the region: illegal settlements, annexations of Palestinian
territory, theft or retention of Palestinian financial assets, and ongoing targeted
killings sanctioned by the Israeli government or colonizers.
Essential facts are ignored by H.R. 4681.
In the ongoing conflict since the year 2000, Israelis have killed nearly
four times as many Palestinians. 29,786
Palestinians have been injured in the violence, vs 7,633 Israelis.
Israeli vs Palestinian Armed Conflict Deaths
and flaws are many. While
purportedly crafted to "promote democracy", the bill's true effect would be
mounting a unilateral US siege on Palestinian society, undercutting the Palestinians'
right to circulate diplomats and representatives in the US, all while cloaking an ongoing
Israeli campaign to annex territory and solidify borders most members of the United
Nations rightly consider illegal.
a State with Expanding Borders
demands that Palestinians "recognize the State of Israel as an independent,
sovereign, Jewish and democratic state". This
is an impossible demand given Israel's refusal to honor its own 1948 armistice border and
continued solidification of its hold over territories captured in its 1967 war of choice.[i] Congressional
representatives insisting that any state recognize Israel and honor its borders must first
negotiate the final geographical borders of a Palestinian state, and obtain international
recognition of contiguous borders. Only
after long overdue international recognition should Palestinians be required to approach
the subject of recognizing Israel.
The Terrorism Legacy of Israel and Palestine
620k Limitation on Assistance to the Palestinian Authority in H.R. 4681 states
that assistance from the US can only be provided under certification that "(1) no
ministry, agency, or instrumentality of the Palestinian Authority is controlled by a
foreign terrorist organization and no member of a foreign terrorist organization serves in
a ministry, agency or instrumentality of the Palestinian Authority." This
clause presents a number of difficulties.
The Lehi Group (short for Fighters for
the Freedom of Israel) was a self-described terrorist group fighting to evict the
British from Palestine toward the formation of a Jewish state. It later became known as
the Stern Gang after commander Avraham Stern.
Stern believed that Palestine's Jewish
population should fight the British rather than support them in World War II and even made
independent contact with Nazis proposing alliance with Germany in exchange a Jewish state
Lehi assassinated British police and soldiers
and in 1947 and conspired to send mail bombs to British politicians in England. Lehi also
sabotaged railroads, bridges and oil refineries, terror operations financed by private
donations, bank robbery and extortion.
On Nov. 6, 1944 Lehi assassinated a British
government official, Lord Moyne, in Cairo. This murder outraged Winston Churchill and two
captured Lehi assassins were executed. In 1948 Lehi and another Jewish terrorist group,
Irgun attacked the Arab village of Deir Yassin alongside other irregular
forces in what became known as the Deir Yassin massacre.
Lehi was later integrated into the Israeli
Defense Forces on May 31, 1948 and Lehi leaders received amnesty from prosecution, though
Lehi later assassinated UN-envoy Count Folke Bernadotte in Jerusalem.
Yitzhak Shamir, a former Israeli prime
minister, was Lehi's Terror Master when Lehi assassinated Britain's
minister of state for the Middle East, Lord Moyne. Shamir also directed the attempted the
assassination of Harold Mac Michael, high commissioner of the British Mandate of
Palestine, and oversaw the 1948 Bernadotte assassination. Although Bernadotte had secured
the release of 21,000 prisoners headed for Nazi extermination, Shamir still judged him to
be an agent of Lehi's British enemy.[ii]
is historically undeniable that many of Israel's founding fathers and institutions are of
terrorist origin. If the US is going to apply this set of standards for the recognition
of foreign states uniformly, the US, and possibly other nation states, would have to anul
official recognition of Israel, effective immediately.
Financial Transparency in Israel and Palestine
section (3) (E) H.R. 4681
demands "financial transparency and accountability of all government ministries and
operations". Lack of financial
transparency on the part of the Palestinian's neighbor, Israel, is a major cause of
retaliatory terrorism on the US and primary mechanism for illegal settlement building.
charitable contributions raised in the US to commit violence and occupation overseas is a
direct result of neoconservative ideology at work. An
illicit network connects illegal settlements in Israeli-occupied territory, US lobbyists,
and charitable entities based in the US and abroad.
government officials disclosed in August of 2005 that at least US$ 60 billion has been
spent financing illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.[iii] According
to Israeli prosecutor Talia Sasson, the Israeli government has systematically violated its
own laws by financing settlements from foreign donations, the official state budget, and
secret military accounts.[iv] One global nonprofit, the World Zionist
Organization, played a central role in coordinating illegal settlement activities.
and fungible assets freed up by massive yearly US foreign aid to Israel were poured into
settlement development and infrastructure building designed to partition key Palestinian
territories and annex others to the state of Israel. US
nonprofits were and are directly and indirectly financing the coordination of illegal
settlement building, encroachment, and violence against Palestinians. The recently disclosed charitable contributions
from neoconservative bagman Jack Abramoff that were laundered to finance violent armed
Israeli activity in the Palestinian territories are only the tip of the iceberg. Combining
this with the findings of a groundbreaking new study on the causes of suicide terrorism
poses a disturbing question: How exactly do tax-exempt donations from the
US cause terrorist retaliation against America?
Tax-Exempt Donation Laundering
and Terrorism Against the US
(Source: IRmep October, 2005)
Robert Pape's quantitative analysis of terrorist attacks from 1980 to 2003 reveals an
uncomfortable truth about the root causes of suicide terrorism: It is a strategic effort to compel target
governments to withdraw forces from land that the so-called terrorists perceive as their
national homeland. [v] Donations to tax-exempt entities in the US that are
laundered and used to kill and maim Palestinians while ethnically cleansing them from
their homelands are not cost-free to Americans. This
encroachment generates asymmetrical retaliation against soft targets in the US from
ideological stakeholders, as referenced in the 9/11 Commission Report.
made $136 billion in tax-deductible charitable contributions in 2002. [vi] A significant number of these contributions
were aggregated by the network of tax-exempt charities operating on behalf of Israel in
the United States and either transferred to finance illegal settlements or used to fund
organizations breaking US, Israeli, and international law.
Tracing a single $25,000 donation within this enormous flow illuminates the
important role of money laundering.
lobbyist Jack Abramoff laundered money from the Choctaw Chippewa Indian tribe into a
nondescript 501 (c) (3) called the Capital Athletic Foundation (CAF). In addition to funding the illegal West Bank Beitar
Illit colony, CAF directly procured sniper scopes, camouflage suits, night-vision
binoculars, a thermal imager, and shooting mats so that Israeli settlers could intimidate
or shoot Palestinian Arabs moving through newly captured land. The shipment of military hardware from the US to
Israel was to be expedited via signed letter from a commander in the Israeli Defense Force
(IDF) in order to guarantee end user clearance for arms exportation from the
U.S. State Department.[vii]
Donation Laundering for Beitar Illit Arms Purchases
(Source: IRmep 2005) [viii]
Not all illegal settlement funding from the US is the product of
money laundering. A large number of
organizations openly raise and disburse funds for the Israeli colonization of Palestinian
territories. Although most misrepresent their
activities to the IRS as educational, others, such as the One Israel Fund,
Inc. of Cedarhurst, openly tout their efforts to transfer, arm, and promote Jewish
settlements in occupied territories.
US Tax-Exempt Donors to Illegal Settlements
Internal Revenue Service)
US Tax-Exempt Organization
Christian Friends of Israel (Colorado
Educating Christians about the Land of
Israel and Biblical significance of current events in the Middle East
Disbursed $100,061 to an affiliate operating in
the West Bank for construction of bus stops, playground equipment in illegal settlements
during the year 2003.
American Friends of the College of Judea
To provide support for the expansion and
furtherance of the needs of educational institutions in Israel.
Disbursed $228,200 to an Israeli college
established in the illegal West Bank settlement of Ariel.
One Israel Fund, Inc. (Cedarhurst, NY)
The mission of One Israel Fund is to
provide essential humanitarian assistance to the over 225,000 men, women, and children
living in the 150-plus communities throughout Judea, Samaria, and Gaza (YESHA).
Disbursed $1.9 million in year 2003 to finance
illegal settlements, arms,
Friends of the IDF organization, and security equipment.
Although not all charitable donations to Israel are spent
on financing illegal colonization and violence, funds not earmarked for arms or land-grab
campaigns offset expenses that otherwise would be paid for by the Israeli government,
freeing up fungible resources used for encroachment on Palestinian lands. IRS recognized US tax exempt charitable
contributions have also been used to ensure that settlements continue to spread in
occupied territories irrespective of Israeli and international laws.
American nonprofit organizations control 30% of the
World Zionist Organization (WZO) through intermediary governing bodies. On March 9, 2005, Talia Sasson, formerly
Israel's chief criminal prosecutor, reported that WZO was deeply involved in
coordinating confiscation of privately owned Palestinian land, diverting funds to illegal
settlement activity, and acting as the central coordinator for settlement financing and
expansion. WZO activities documented in
the Sasson report violate international and Israeli laws, as well as American laws
prohibiting hostilities against territories or people with which the US is at peace.
Nonprofit Control of the World Zionist Organization Settlement Division
The United States does not escape the
consequences of charity-financed ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. While Palestinians have not struck back at soft US
targets in retaliation, homeland stakeholders sympathetic to the Palestinian
cause, such as 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, have.
instant notoriety as the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing inspired KSM to
become involved in planning attacks against the United States. By his own account, KSM's animus toward the
United States stemmed not from his experiences there as a student, but rather from his
violent disagreement with US foreign policy favoring Israel. 9/11 Commission Report [x]
The vicious cycle of illegal
settlement funding/occupation/retaliation against the US has now become too obvious to
deny or explain away. US law enforcement is
clearly the best solution for confronting charities operating in the US and laundering
tax-exempt donations into illegal settlement activity.
To date, however, it is still in an information gathering phase
and has yet to prosecute any significant neocon overseas criminal activity.
H.R. 4681 is not a credible piece of legislation if it
refuses to address the massive illegalities caused by opaque financial transactions and
illegal money laundering of US charitable contributions in Israel. By ignoring these ongoing realities in favor of
mounting a siege on Palestinian society, Congress is undermining its own credibility. If it truly wishes to confront
"terrorism" Congress should act first to stem the major causes.
Designating Palestinian territories
as "terrorist sanctuaries" under Section 5 of the legislation may raise more
problems than it resolves. A sponsor state of H.R. 4681, Florida Representative
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's home state of Florida, is considered by some countries as a
terrorist sanctuary for continuing to harbor Orlando Bosch. Orlando Bosch admitted to taking part in the
October 6, 1976 bombing of a Cuban civilian airliner in which all seventy-three people on
board were killed, as well as other terrorist attacks.
Countries such as Venezuela have requested and been refused Bosch's
extradition for trial. However, labeling the
entire state of Florida a "terrorist sanctuary" is unproductive. It would unfairly label many law-abiding residents.
H.R. 4681 "broad
brush" approach to labeling a territory may appease special interest groups in the
US, as the Bosch terrorist sanctuary has Cuban-American groups in Florida. It will do little, however, to address real
The origins and key special interest support of this
legislation, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), immediately raise
questions about the bill's utility as American foreign policy. The Executive, the branch primarily responsible for
US foreign policy, has been right to ignore the trajectory of the legislation by providing
humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, as have enlightened European and other foreign donor
leading AIPAC officials and authors of similar punitive legislation, Steven Rosen and
Keith Weissman, are now under criminal indictment for passing classified information to a
foreign nation and other illegal activity. Members
of congress that continue to promote flawed AIPAC legislation that is not in line with the
interests of mainstream Americans, do so at peril of their own reputation and the
credibility of Congress.
Department of Defense
House of Representatives
Department of Justice
Congress Watch level
Chapter #1 Strike First, "Deadly Dogma,
How Neoconservatives Broke the Law to Deceive America, page 25. ISBN 0976443740 IRmep
Deadly Dogma pp 96-97.
one knows full cost of Israel's settlement ambitions, USA Today, 8/14/2005,
Summary of the Opinion Concerning Unauthorized Outposts, Talia Sasson, 3/10/2005,
Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, Robert Pape,
How many filings, how much revenue? All Things Considered, National Public
Radio, November 12, 2004.
Senatorial Courtesy, Lou Dubose, Texas Observer, 8/26/2005,
Ten Things Every American Can Do to Improve US Middle East Policy, Web
Jewish Officials Profess Shock Over
Report on Zionist Body, Forward, 3/18/2005,
The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 147, http://www.gpoaccess.gov/911/