White House Rejects Israeli Request for Extra Funding
The Bush administration is blocking an Israeli request for hundreds of millions of dollars in new aid, administration and congressional sources said. Israel had sought $800 million in aid beyond its usual assistance, and the administration gave serious consideration to providing $200 million.
But the request raised concerns over the major Israeli offensive against Palestinians, the high level of US aid already given to Israel, and the war on terrorism's growing strain on the US budget, Israel Radio said.
An American official told AFP the State Department had submitted a recommendation that the money be included in a request to Congress for supplemental funds in the fiscal 2003 budget but that officials at the National Security Council at the White House had objected.
"That was the recommendation but they said no," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The official would not say why the White House had objected to the extra funding, to be used to assist Israel patrol its borders and prevent attacks against its citizens.
The money was to come from a proposed multi-billion-dollar fund to be set up to help countries battle terrorism as part of the overall US-led war on global terrorists, the official said
The official added that the money recommended for Israel was not connected to a proposed 800-million-dollar amount that former president Bill Clinton had pledged to the Jewish state as part of his administration's Middle East peace efforts.
Israeli officials said they knew nothing about the request.
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)