An ultimatum toward peace

The U.S. aid given to Israel should be split with Palestine, with peace strings attached.

by Nathan Kellen

It is common knowledge that whenever the topic of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict comes up in the media, all hell breaks loose. Due to a University of Minnesota student groupâÄôs recent âÄúGaza WeekâÄù events, I am sure we will again be forced to endure the arduous debates, with each side eventually retreating to their own side while insults fly and hatred ensues. It is obvious to anyone who has any knowledge of the current global climate that both Israel and Palestine are to blame for this conflict, and many innocents die needlessly. Rather than try to convince one side or the other of guilt or innocence, I propose we view the situation in another, more positive manner. The United States has a long and public affiliation with Israel, with many sources stating the approximate aid given to the Israeli state to be around $110 billion, with modern yearly installments of just under $3 billion. I do not think that anyone wishes to deny that the U.S. aid given to Israel was essential to their early existence and indeed justified. What I do take issue with is the statement in TuesdayâÄôs article, âÄúStudent groups host Gaza Week,âÄù that âÄúif America did not support Israel, it might not exist anymore.âÄù Although I will acknowledge that Israel required our aid in the early years, it is now a developed country and, furthermore, a nuclear power. It is well-known that Israel is a dominant power in the Middle East, and the idea that our lack of aid will cause them to be in danger is ludicrous. Compare the lower of the two numbers for Palestinians killed in the Gaza War (supplied by Israel) with the number of Israelis killed, and one gets an 89-to-1 ratio. The Palestinians are obviously no threat to IsraelâÄôs existence, although they are by no means harmless. Rather than abandon Israel, I propose that we seek a middle ground. Currently, the entirety of our economic gifts to Israel is spent militarily. Rather than fund an endless war that results in hundreds of innocents dead, let us instead fund peace. I propose that we split the amount given to Israel between the two countries and place restrictions on the gifts. It is our money; let us dictate how it should be spent. If Israel wants the $1.5 billion, they must immediately pull out of the lands rightfully belonging to Palestine and declare a complete cease-fire, while Palestine must also declare a cease-fire to obtain their half. Both countries must use the money only for infrastructure rather than military might. An infraction of these terms would result in a complete and utter end to all further funds. The U.S. simply cannot be responsible for the murder of innocent civilians, and if we are to offer aid, we should do it in a way that promotes peace rather than war. There is nothing to be gained from this war and much to be gained from peace. Despite the religious and cultural differences on each side of the fence, if both sides truly wish to have the funds the U.S. has to offer, they should be willing to set aside their differences in favor of helping their respective citizens. It is hard to tell whether, if implemented, either country would take the U.S. up on this offer. If they do not, there remains but one more choice: a complete and utter withdrawal of all funds from both countries. Perhaps an ultimatum is the only way to make these differing countries understand that peace is the only option that we are interested in. If the U.S. is to be a world superpower, then let us use our power for the good of peoples worldwide, or not at all. Nathan Kellen University undergraduate student