Reprint from Volume 38 Issue #1 of The Worker newspaper - published by The Workers Party U.S.A
Israel — U.S. Imperialism’s Guard Dog in the Middle East
January 8, 2024 - In 1949, the U.S. signed the Tripartite Agreement guaranteeing that the Israeli military would remain the strongest power in the region. Successive U.S. administrations have reaffirmed their support for this strategic agreement.
The U.S. alliance with Israel was especially strengthened during the Nixon years, when the U.S. embarked on the program of building up regional military allies as surrogates for direct U.S. bases, and Israel was turned into a garrison for the U.S. military. In 1981, under President Reagan, the U.S. signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” with Israel as part of new agreements on “strategic military cooperation,” and the U.S. and Israel conducted their first joint naval and air military exercises. Reagan was quoted as saying “[Israel] is a force in the Middle East that actually is a benefit to us....If there were not Israel there with that force, we’d have to supply that with our own, so this isn’t just altruism on our part.”
In 1988, the U.S. and Israel signed another memorandum in which Israel was declared “a major non-NATO” ally of the United States and received preferential treatment in military contract bidding.
Over the last 50 years, the U.S. government has provided Israel with $100 billion in military and economic aid. Today, U.S. annual aid to Israel has reached an average of $3 billion in direct grants, $1.2 billion in economic aid, and $1.8 billion in military aid. Also, since the Persian Gulf War of 1991, the U.S. has been providing Israel with $2 billion annually in federal loan guarantees, and total financial aid is about $5 billion, or $13.7 million per day. Also, more than $1.5 billion in private U.S. funds go to Israel annually in the form of $1 billion in private tax-deductible donations and $500 million in Israeli bonds.
With this aid, the U.S. government has fully supported Israeli expansion, war, and genocide against the Palestinian people. The U.S. has vetoed over two dozen United Nations resolutions condemning Israeli aggression and occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
Since the U.S. launched its war on terrorism, President Bush has instructed the Sharon government in Israel to seek a “final solution” to the Palestinian “problem.” This has resulted in a massive invasion and occupation of West Bank towns and villages. Today, Israel’s strategic plan is to reoccupy areas under the control of the Palestinians, expropriate and colonize more Palestinian land and further destroy the infrastructure of Palestinian society. The Israeli army, assisted by the paramilitary settlers, subject the West Bank Palestinians to murder, torture, imprisonment and exile.
Recently, Israel began construction of a wall consisting of electronic fences, razor wire, trenches and concrete barriers. It will put thousands of acres of West Bank land and tens of thousands of Palestinians on the Israeli side while further cantonizing the West Bank into isolated communities.
The state of Israel remains the strategic lynch-pin in U.S. imperialism’s hegemonic strategy in the Middle East. Israel today is practically the “51st state” of the U.S. In turn, it is used by U.S. imperialism as a stable base for pursuing its interests in the Middle East. Following the advice of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modem-day zionism, that the west would need a guard for the Suez Canal and “be a rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization against barbarism,” Israel remains a U.S. dagger in the heart of the Arab peoples.
In 1968, a former Prime Minister of Israel, Levi Eshko, stated “the value of Israel to the west in this part of the world will, I predict, be out of all proportion to its size. We will be a real bridge between the three continents and the free world will be very thankful not only if we survive, but if we continue to thrive in secure and guaranteed frontiers.”
After the Cold War, one senior Israeli official commented that Israel would be “the biggest aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean...its role would be confirmed and expanded to include the Mediterranean, the Gulf, and Central Asia. It would become a vanguard in the coming crusade against what is known in the west as Islamic fundamentalism and extremism...it would be in the forefront of the fight against terrorism.”
In fact, U.S. imperialism has always used Israel as a military base of operations against the Arab liberation movements. In 1956, for example, Israel launched an attack against Egypt after Nasser nationalized the Suez canal. In 1967, Israel, instigated and backed by U.S. imperialism, waged a full-scale war against Palestine and Jordan, occupying the West Bank and Gaza strip, expropriating Palestinian land and forcing tens of thousands into exile. In the 1970s and 80s, Israel constantly launched attacks against the Arab people of Lebanon and Syria. In 1982, Israel invaded and occupied Lebanon, carrying out a genocidal policy against the Palestinian population. Israel has also been used repeatedly against Iraq, including the notorious 1981 attack on a nuclear reactor in Baghdad. Today, Israel is in the forefront of preparing and calling for attacks on Syria and Iran.
Clearly, U.S. imperialism will continue to support Israel in order to maintain it as its permanent military outpost in the strategic Middle East.
Supporting the Palestinian struggle and fighting to cutoff U.S. support for Israel is thus a vital component of the struggle against imperialism and for peace in the Middle East and the world. We must demand the immediate cut off of all U.S. aid to Israel and an end to U.S. interference and intervention in the Middle East.