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For Immediate Release: May 13th, 2009

'No More Blank Check for Israel,' Organizations Urge Congress

Washington, DC-More than one dozen prominent national organizations released an open letter today to the Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, opposing the Obama Administration's FY2010 budget request for $2.775 billion in military aid to Israel. The President's FY2010 budget request for military aid to Israel is $225 million more than Congress appropriated in FY2009 for this purpose.

The letter, organized by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, argues that the time has come to end or, at the minimum, condition U.S. military aid to Israel. "At this time of acute economic crisis," the letter reads, "as well as from a political, legal, security, and moral standpoint, our country should not continue to provide Israel with this blank check." The full letter is available on-line by clicking here.

Josh Ruebner, National Advocacy Director of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, stated that "It is inconceivable that President Obama is proposing a record amount of military aid to Israel during the most serious recession since the Great Depression, especially since Israel consistently misuses U.S. weapons to commit grave human rights abuses and systematic violations of international law in its illegal military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem."

During the Bush Administration, Israel killed more than 3,000 Palestinian civilians who took no part in hostilities, including more than 1,000 children, often with U.S. weapons in violation of the Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance Acts. During its December-January war on the occupied Gaza Strip alone, Israel killed nearly 1,200 non-combatants.

This open letter to the Appropriations Subcommittee is part of a growing movement to hold Israel accountable for its misuse of U.S. weapons to commit human rights abuses against Palestinians.

Earlier this year, the US Campaign organized an open letter, entitled "President Obama: We Need a Change in Israel/Palestine Policy," calling on the Obama Administration to cut off military aid to Israel. More than 500 organizations endorsed this letter and tens of thousands of individuals sent the President letters and postcards with the same demand. The open letter originally appeared as a full-page ad in the inaugural edition of Congressional Quarterly and can be viewed by clicking here.

In February, the US Campaign held a Capitol Hill policy briefing examining the effects of U.S. weapons transfers to Israel on Palestinian civilians during the Bush Administration. A video and PowerPoint presentation of the briefing and research findings can be viewed by clicking here.

The US Campaign has been leading a national effort to challenge military aid to Israel since August 2007, when the United States and Israel signed a Memorandum of Understanding to increase military aid to $30 billion over the next decade. Since that time, more than 1,200 people in more than 600 cities in 48 states have signed up to organize to challenge military aid in their communities. For a Google map of the organizers, click here.

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is a national coalition of more than 280 organizations working to change to U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine to support human rights, international law, and equality. For more information about the US Campaign, please click here.