Thalif Deen
Inter Press Service
January 8, 2009

UNITED NATIONS, Jan 8 (IPS) – The devastating Israeli firepower, unleashed largely on Palestinian civilians in Gaza during two weeks of fighting, is the product of advanced U.S. military technology.

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The U.S. weapons systems used by the Israelis — including F-16 fighter planes, Apache helicopters, tactical missiles and a wide array of munitions — have been provided by Washington mostly as outright military grants.

The administration of President George W. Bush alone has provided over 21 billion dollars in U.S. security assistance over the last eight years, including 19 billion dollars in direct military aid as freebies.

“Israel’s intervention in the Gaza Strip has been fueled largely by U.S. supplied weapons paid for with U.S. tax dollars,” says a background briefing released Thursday by the Arms and Security Initiative of the New York-based New America Foundation.

“The Bush administration has been unwilling to use its considerable influence — as Israel’s major military and political backer — to dissuade the government in Tel Aviv from its pattern of claiming self-defence while perpetrating collective punishment, human rights violations and undertaking massively disproportionate attacks that harm and kill civilians,” Frida Berrigan, senior programme associate at the New America Foundation, told IPS.

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