US Congress Committee Chastises Israel, but Maintains Aid

Published June 28th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

A US Congressional committee voted on Tuesday to urge Israel not to sell an airborne radar system to China, but maintained aid funding after threatening to cut it. 

"The Congress urges Israel to terminate the existing contract to sell an airborne radar system to the People's Republic of China," the amendment adopted by the US House Appropriations Committee said. 

Congress is "very disturbed by reports that Israel is preparing to provide China with an airborne radar system that could threaten both the forces of the democratic Taiwan and the United States in the region surrounding the Taiwan Straits," it said. 

The amendment replaced one proposed by foreign operations subcommittee chairman Sonny Callahan, who in April warned he would seek to withhold some 250 million dollars in aid to Israel until US authorities certify that the sale does not threaten national security. 

Israel plans to sell China sophisticated AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control Systems) technology, installed in Russian-built Ilyushin-76 planes. Washington fears it will tip the balance of power between China and Taiwan. 

The US provides Israel with about three billion dollars a year in aid. Of that, 1.8 billion is in military aid and the balance for civilian purposes. 

The bulk of the US aid is tied to Israeli purchases of arms and material from the US - WASHINGTON (AFP) 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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