Thus, even under Israeli law many of the settlements in the OPT were not properly authorized and were therefore illegal. In addition, Israel's continued expansion of settlements clearly violates the policies of the Obama Administration:
"The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop."
President Barack Obama in Cairo -- June 4, 2009
"We reject in the strongest terms the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity. For more than four decades, Israeli settlement activity in territories occupied in 1967 has undermined Israel's security and corroded hopes for peace and stability in the region. Continued settlement activity violates Israel's international commitments, devastates trust between the parties, and threatens the prospects for peace."
Ambassador Susan Rice -- February 18, 2011
The Israel Lobby
The Israel Lobby uses its considerable influence, especially with Congress, to push for the passage of laws and resolutions which promote the interests of Israel, even when, in the view of many, they are inimical to the interests of the U.S. itself. The Israel Lobby is viewed as one of many lobbies in the U.S.--although a particularly effective one--which seeks to achieve its goals by assembling helpful information, directly lobbying members of congress and channeling campaign contributions to those who support its goals, and to the opponents of those who are not fully supportive.
It is not commonly understood, however, that part of what the Israel Lobby accomplishes is to assist in the direct funding of settlement activity itself, helping to create more "facts on the ground" which make more difficult the creation of a viable Palestinian state. How does the Lobby do this?
Before answering this question it is first necessary to define, at least in part, what the Lobby is, what exactly comprises the Lobby? Following are listed some of the organizations that are usually considered to be part of the Lobby.
American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). For many AIPAC epitomizes the Israel Lobby. AIPAC's main focus is on the U.S. Congress. With a budget of over $60 million, some 360 employees and a laser-like focus on matters affecting US-Israel relations, AIPAC is generally considered to be one of the most, if not the most, effective lobby in Washington DC. AIPAC not only monitors all bills and resolutions pertaining to Israel that come before Congress, they help write many of them. They then proceed to record the vote of every member of congress on all relevant legislation, and use those voting histories to reward or punish members in the future. One need only have watched the recent nomination hearing for Sen. Hagel, appointed by President Obama to be the next Secretary of Defense, to understand how voting records are used by AIPAC and its minions.
American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF). AIEF is an in-house captive servant of AIPAC. Its employees salaries are paid by AIPAC. It is housed in AIPAC's offices. A majority of the members of its board of directors are also members of AIPAC'S board. However, unlike its parent, AIEF is a 501[c] non-profit organization, and is therefore eligible to accept tax-exempt contributions and to provide expense-paid trips to Israel for members of Congress. Those trips are designed to instill a greater sense of loyalty to the State of Israel as well as a sense of gratitude to AIPAC.
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (CPMAJO).
The website of the CPMAJO lists fifty-one member organizations which comprise its membership, including AIPAC. The financial resources available to the member organizations, in the aggregate, are quite large. The annual income for 38 of the 51, for which a recent IRS 990 form was located, totaled $686 million. Some of those with the largest annual revenues are:
American Jewish Joint Distribution- Advertisement -
Committee......................................... 2010 ...$249,330,587
American Israel Public Affairs Committee ..2010 .....$66,862,011
Friends of the Israel Defense Forces .......2010 .....$58,224,980