FREE Subscription to our
just enter your email address
View Previous Issues



Texas Profits on Palestinian Pain

The Texas Observer
April 26, 2002

TEXAS FUELS OCCUPATION As the Israeli incursion into the West Bank entered its second week and world opinion turned against the Israelis, President Bush’s rhetoric suddenly became quite strident. "Enough is enough," he told the world on April 4, demanding that Sharon begin an immediate pullout. Some-body forgot to notify the Pentagon, which awarded a contract the very next day to a Texas company for a major shipment of diesel fuel to Israel, where it will power the tanks, jeeps, and armored bulldozers being used to demolish West Bank towns.

Valero Energy Corporation, based in San Antonio, is set to ship 242,000 barrels of EN590 diesel, valued at $8,744,537, to Israel by the end of April, according to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). Valero is producing the diesel at its Texas City facility. "It is an on-road diesel and it is used for jeeps, trucks and any ground vehicle with a diesel engine," said Valero spokeswoman Mary Rose Brown. When asked where in Israel this fuel is headed and how it would be used there, Brown said, "I have no idea." The diesel shipment is part of the U.S. Foreign Military Sales Israel Program and it is bound for Haifa, according to bid solicitation documents on the Defense Energy Support Center’s (DESC) website. "You’d have to talk to Israel," said DESC’s Tony Frontiero, when asked what the fuel would be used for. Israel could not be reached at press time, but one likely recipient of the diesel is the army’s main battle tank, the Merkava, which is equipped with a diesel engine supplied by Teledyne Continental Mo-tors. Then there are the specially armored D-9 dozers, which Israeli soldiers use like battering rams to flatten entire rows of houses.

The $8.7 million diesel shipment this spring is a fraction of what Valero stands to gain from supplying fuel to Israel this year. April’s diesel contract supplements a $94.7 million DOD award to Valero granted in December, which is to be delivered by year’s end. The bulk of this order will pay for 2.4 million barrels of JP-8, a grade of jet fuel. Both Israel’s F-16 jet fighters and its Apache helicopters use JP-8, according to Nancy Ray, an Army spokeswoman at the Pentagon. Jordan Green, author of an April 4 Institute for Southern Studies report called Arming the Occupation, says that in Israel’s war "the F-16s and Apache attack helicopters are the most widely used weaponry." In addition to fuel, Texas also supplies the jets. In December, Ft. Worth- based Lockheed Martin received a $1.3 billion DOD award to build 52 additional F-16 fighters for the Israelis.

© Texas Democracy Foundation