The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Guest Write: We are helping Israel commit war crimes

Biden and Netanyahu meeting in Israel in 2016. The US’ support of Israel is a lot darker than you might think. We fund the suffering and oppression of millions of innocent people in the Middle East.

Editor’s Note (11/17/2023): A previous version of this article falsely characterized Palestinian protesters as completely peaceful. The sentence has since been corrected to reflect that there have been both peaceful and violent protesters.

I am a proud Jewish person. And I say Never Again — for anyone, anywhere.

Most mainstream stories paint Palestinians as terrorists on one side and the Israeli army on the other side who does what democracies sometimes have to do to defend themselves. But there’s a whole lot more to the story that we don’t hear about enough. Palestinians have been living for decades under military occupation by Israel, severely limiting access to education, jobs, food and even healthcare. And our country, the self-proclaimed “freest country in the world,” is funding this occupation like there’s no tomorrow.

Every year, the US gives billions of dollars in foreign assistance to Israel. This year alone, $3.3 billion of our tax money has been sent over. What is it used for? $8.8 million goes towards the country’s economy, but the other 99.7 percent goes to the aid of the Israeli military. You might be asking, what’s the problem with that? Our free country is just helping another allied country remain free, right? Wrong.

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The reason America supports Israel is a lot darker than you might think. In 1986 as Deleware’s senator, current President Joe Biden said, “[Israel] is the best $3 billion investment we make. Were there not an Israel, the United States of America would have to invent an Israel to protect her interest in the region.” To this day, we have continued our heavy annual funding to Israel.

The US funding of the Israeli military is no benevolent act. Funding of Israel provides us with an ally and leverage over valuable natural resources found in the Middle East, like oil. We don’t fund Israel for freedom. We don’t fund Israel out of the goodness of our hearts. We fund Israel to control and colonize the Middle East.

If you are still skeptical, just look at the countless other examples of the US being a “good Samaritan” when it works to our advantage. In Hawaii, we destroyed the local government and used the land for Pearl Harbor, a naval station. In Guam, we took control of a third of the land for military bases. In Cuba, we helped fight for their independence from Spain, but then never ended our military occupation of their land. The US has 750 foreign military bases in more than 80 countries and colonies around the world. This is more bases than any country, empire or group of people in world history. Our country has no interest in freedom fighting. Our support of Israel is yet another example of American occupation and militarization in an attempt to expand power.

We market this decades-long investment and support of Israel by saying Never Again, a phrase referring to the atrocities of World War II. We say that our funding is for the safety and prosperity of the Jewish people after the atrocities we endured during the Holocaust. Instead, this funding of money, weapons and power has led to decades of extreme oppression of innocent Palestinian people.

This is crucial context for the desperation of the Palestinian people — Hamas’ inexcusable terrorism brought a worldwide spotlight to the longstanding discord in Israel. It’s been 75 years since the creation of Israel turned 700,000 Palestinians into refugees, making this the longest-standing refugee crisis in the world. Human rights experts have stated that torture and other institutionalized oppression by Israel of the Palestinians is apartheid. By definition, apartheid is a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on the grounds of race. In protests in which the vast majority of protesters acted peacefully, Palestinians have been shot by rubber bullets and live ammunition, and sprayed with tear gas by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in retaliation to these demonstrations. This is real.

I condemn the horrific actions of Hamas against Israeli civilians. It cannot be more stressed that I am just as anti-Hamas in this situation as anyone else. However, I also condemn the Israeli government for its blatant attempt of ethnic cleansing of millions of Palestinian people, and the US’ immense and aware role in supporting it.

Right now, the situation is worse than ever. There is limited water and electricity in Gaza. Gazan hospitals are being targeted, with more than ten having already been hit. Entire families are being wiped out — at least 47 entire families that have been reported. As I write this, the Palestinian death toll has passed 10,000. More than 40 percent of these deaths are children.

Here in the US, a 6-year-old Palestinian boy named Wadea was stabbed to death on Sunday, October 14 by his landlord as the landlord yelled “you Muslims must die!” I will not stand for Islamophobia, just as I will not stand for antisemitism. We must stand together as siblings and protect each other. We know that as youth, we deserve a better future. We all deserve to live in peace, and more war will not get us to the future we deserve. Ceasefire now!

If you are living in the US, we need to make it clear to our government that our tax dollars should go immediately to de-escalating and stopping any additional loss of life, not to the promotion of death. History is asking us to step up to this moment with everything we’ve got –– to stop more death and turn the tide towards a future where we can all thrive.

As students we might feel powerless, but we can create a united front to express our opinions. Keep learning, keep questioning what you hear and keep an open heart and mind. This is an extremely emotional situation for people on any and every side. I am a proud Jewish person. And I say Never Again — for anyone. I say End US support of Israeli War Crimes. I say Tikkun Olam. Ceasefire and humanitarian aid now. Peace and love.

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  • Teddy | Nov 14, 2023 at 7:35 pm

    “And I say Never Again — for anyone.’
    For the Nazi’s also Lev? Really?