Amidst the continuous talk about the stalled peace process between Israel and the Palestinians on one hand, and the war on terrorism and the attempts to hunt down the major terrorist financiers on the other, an extremely important issue that is closely related to both of the above topics is being overlooked. I am talking about the financing of illegal Israeli settlements and the heavily armed militias that kill Palestinians in cold blood without any fear of punishment.
A closer examination would reveal to any observer that the most important supporters of these settlements are the US-based Zionist Christian groups that have absolute faith in the need to support these illegal settlements in order to ensure that the Jews are in control of this land which will hasten the second coming of Christ, according to their doctrine. There are many charitable organizations affiliated to Zionist Christian groups that urge their followers to travel to the occupied territories to help the Jews to revive their land and protect it against their “enemies.” Organizations such as this take advantage of a US administration that supports charitable organizations and exempts tax on charitable contributions, even if these contributions are being transferred abroad and spent on construction materials and equipment, and weapons and ammunition, to enable the settlers to strengthen their illegal occupation that contravenes international laws, conventions, and resolutions.
This is genuine and effective funding of terrorism in an ugly manner. More than 40 official US groups have been able over the past 10 years to collect more than 200 million US dollars which have been donated to Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem. “Outwardly” this money is to finance temples, schools, and recreation centers, but in reality this funding is spent on construction and housing, as well as on guard dogs, bulletproof vests, rifle scopes, and surveillance cars. All of which can at the very least be regarded as a controversial or dubious outlay for charitable contributions, as this is violating international conventions, and supporting an illegal occupation.
While the dissenting voices within the US administration continues to rise against Israel’s hectic settlement policies, and official criticism of this intensifies, the US administration has failed to level any criticism or warning against the right-wing pro-Zionist Christian groups that have today become one of the most important supporters of Israel, and in many cases they are more “pro-Israel” than the Israelis themselves.
Perhaps one of the most prominent examples of this is a US clergyman who boasts that he travels to Israel more than six times a year, and who has been able to collect tens of millions of dollars in donation [for Israeli settlements], not to mention win over a number of the Republican party’s presidential candidates to his campaign. None of these Republican presidential candidates hesitated to announce to their supporters that “Israel exists because of a covenant God made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob 3,500 years ago — and that covenant still stands. World leaders do not have the authority to tell Israel and the Jewish people what they can and cannot do in the city of Jerusalem.” This is the great lie that is backed up by myth and legend and money. This clergyman was successful in making $58 million from DVD and book sales last year alone, all of which talk about the importance of Israel in the biblical prophecies. This is not to mention many figures that utilized the charitable system and exploit the tax exemption to support the settler’s terrorist militias. Add to this the controversial figures who exploited the same loophole in order to send – via charitable organizations – more than $140,000 to Israel for educational purposes, however it later turned out that this was being used to fund a militia in the Israeli Beitar Illit settlement. It was revealed that education was used as a cover to hide the true purposes of this money after the charitable organization’s accountant said that it would not be convincing to cite the true purpose of this funding in the official records, namely that the money was used to purchase sniper equipment!
This represents a clear and explicit financing of terrorism, and of course Israel will not be held accountable for this, in the same manner that it has not been held accountable for its nuclear program, its occupation and theft of other people’s land, and its assassination of innocent civilians. In fact, this support for Israel and the double-standards surrounding this is the crux of the problem in the Middle East.