A high-profile Israeli treasury delegation is expected in Washington Monday, January 6, to press for a supplemental $14 billion special aid package, in the form of civil assistance and loan guarantees. Israel already receives three billion dollars annually in American foreign aid, making it the US’ principle aid beneficiary.
Israel’s emergency aid appeal to the Bush administration is made up of four billion dollars in direct coverage for security expenditures related to the Palestinian uprising and the anticipated US attack on Iraq. Another $8-10 will be requested in the form of loan guarantees in support of Israel’s ailing economy.
Hoping to finalize the support package ahead of a looming US strike on Iraq and the upcoming elections in Israel, the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has sought over past weeks to facilitate the much-needed deal by clearing any foreseen obstacles.
Anticipating the American Congress to demand an Israeli commitment not to use the money for Jewish settlements in the occupied territories as a precondition to these latest assistance requests, Sharon has reportedly already accepted this restriction, US sources told Reuters.
Sharon has also ordered a freeze on all sales of advanced military technology to China, in compliance with US demands and agreed last week to release the Palestinian Authority’s tax revenues held by Israel. — (menareport.com)
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