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Why does the U.S. send aid to Gaza and arms to Israel?

A view of a military plane which carries American armored SUVs landed in an airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, October 19, 2023. /CFP 
A view of a military plane which carries American armored SUVs landed in an airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, October 19, 2023. /CFP 

A view of a military plane which carries American armored SUVs landed in an airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, October 19, 2023. /CFP 

Editor's note: Keith Lamb, a special commentator on current affairs for CGTN, is a University of Oxford graduate with a Master of Science in Contemporary Chinese Studies. His primary research interests are China's international relations and "socialism with Chinese characteristics." The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

Gaza is being described as teetering on the brink of famine, which many, including South Africa, describe as genocidal. In response, the U.S. is airdropping aid to Gaza while simultaneously fueling Israel's defense industry to the tune of $3.8 billion annually, which is currently increasing.

Many layers can be used to examine this contradiction. From Israel's point of view, this was started by "Hamas terrorism" in last October. As such, the suffering of innocent Palestinians is the unfortunate, if disproportionate, price of Israel's security. Thus, U.S. aid to Palestine and arms to Israel reflects this contradiction.

However, history didn't start last year. The Palestinians have been marginalized since the creation of Israel, which was justified by the tragic events of World War Two (WWII) and hurried on by terrorist acts against Britain, which previously administered Palestine.

Of course, two wrongs do not make a right, the Palestinians were not on the side of Nazi Germany, and either way, the Balfour Declaration by Britain to establish a national home for Jewish people in Palestine was in 1917, before WWII. Consequently, what we are seeing now is more than just the tragic consequences of any recent brutal events but the continuation of a historic trend that has transformed Palestine into Israel.

U.S. armaments to Israel, which dwarfs aid to Palestine, declares who the U.S. really stands for but doesn't reveal the reasons. These can only be fundamentally understood through a historical class analysis of Western capitalism and its global hegemonic strategy.

Western capital has become transnational and many members of this class, comprised from various Western states, have sympathies with Israel and its creation. For example, the Balfour Declaration was addressed to Lionel Walter Rothschild, a wealthy transnational figurehead of the British Jewish community. Today, the Israel lobby holds significant sway in Washington and many U.S. politicians hold dual U.S.-Israeli nationality – undoubtedly if there was a Chinese or Russian lobby, U.S. democracy would certainly be questioned.

One needs not pander to conspiracy, funding and pledges of this transnational allegiance are overt. Due to the nature of this transnational force, it doesn't matter whether one argues that the tail is wagging the dog or the other way around. What is important to note is that it is one organism – "one dog." Hence, there is a unity of ideology and governmental policy across various Western states, which often work against the interests of average citizens.

Beyond ancient revanchist ethno-religious interests, which, if held up as a principle in international relations, would be detrimental to large Western states, relatively recently colonized, there is a specific strategy behind Western capitalism's hegemony that makes "real estate" like Israel specifically valuable.

Both Pax-Britannica and Pax-Americana, whose transcontinental empires fostered a transnational elite, have maintained global control through the domination of sea trade requiring control of important choke points, which Israel is part of. Under Western hegemony, this also explains the lack of progress across large continents and the disdain for projects like the Belt and Road Initiative, which could challenge the West.

As hegemony wanes, one can view the clearing of Palestine as a means to shore up the strategic wedge of land between Asia and Africa, before the Global South rebels. Eventually, this would allow for a potential canal in Israel under Western control, while abundant gas reserves off the coast of Palestine also adds a more immediate temptation for Western monopolistic transnational capital. With this in mind, a two-state solution, pushed by the UN, is unworkable for these transnational class interests and their strategy.

Smoke rises after the Israeli army bombed a building in Gaza, March 21, 2024. /CFP
Smoke rises after the Israeli army bombed a building in Gaza, March 21, 2024. /CFP

Smoke rises after the Israeli army bombed a building in Gaza, March 21, 2024. /CFP

Stating all this, why give aid to Gaza? On one hand, even Western elites, who understand the larger geopolitical "game," must know that the Palestinians aren't intrinsically their enemy and consequently deserve sympathy and aid. However, on the other hand, the millions of civilians dead due to Western hegemony doesn't indicate an elite preoccupied with human rights over their right.

Aid to Palestine could signify that the magnitude of the human rights crisis is unprecedented and more than ever, with social media, it is highlighted. This leads to democratic pressure upon Western elites by many who, despite corporate pro-Israel propaganda, are fervently against the destruction of Gaza. As such, "good news" of aid serves to quell this pressure – especially as elections are coming up.

As long as one ignores the financial disparity in aid versus arms funding, Western democracy can continue to be falsely sold as a complex process, where popular democratic interests can prevail and those of the corporation can win too. However, this actually obfuscates the centralized undemocratic power of transnational elites and their corporations.

The narrative of aid and arms works to simultaneously garner the Muslim and peace vote as well as the pro-Israel vote in the coming U.S. elections. Depending on the audience one side will be pushed forward. For the majority who are anti-war, U.S. President Joe Biden, and let's face it any U.S. president, who is inevitably conditioned by the larger aforementioned systemic forces, can sell himself as one who tried their best despite "uncontrollable forces" – which are actually with the right interests controllable.

Simply put, aid to Gaza and arms to Israel is a symptom of a lack of democracy – the historical status quo of Western hegemony.

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at opinions@cgtn.com. Follow @thouse_opinions on Twitter to discover the latest commentaries in the CGTN Opinion Section.)

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