Letter: Trip to Palestine raises questions about aid to Israel

February 2, 2013 

I recently traveled to Palestine and Israel with a "Pilgrims of Ibillin" pilgrimage. I saw bulldozed homes, "erased" villages, bullet holes, separated lands, check points, razor wire fences, 27-foot high walls, higher guard towers, guards, Israel Defense Forces teenage soldiers with M16s, restricted water access, illegal settlements on prime land, road blockades -- all in land that had been designated for the Palestinians -- and in land that had been home to Palestinians for ages.

I returned home to the United States. I learned Israel is the biggest long-term recipient of U.S. aid. It receives $3 billion per year from the United States, and in the spring of 2012, Congress came together to earmark in the midst of the U.S. Budget crisis an extra $1 billion in military aid to Israel -- all to a country that occupies Palestinian land and lives.

If all this aid were actually helping, it might be justifiable. But, Israel should not be above the law in violating the rights of the Palestinian people. Instead, Israel is hurting Palestinians, Israelis and Americans. It is a danger to the entire world.

We are all human beings. We are all children of God. We must come together and share in our blessings and in our sorrows.


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