Israel comes begging, again.
American peace movement should ask Congress to conditions on this. Like withdrawing from the West Bank and a Peace settlement with the Palestinians.
Israeli officials have been discussing over the past few months how much financial aid Israel should request from the United States in the coming years.
It is not a question of ‘if’ but of ‘how much’
The issue has come up for initial discussions with the Bush administration, and will be raised again at a meeting in Washington next month. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and not any American offical is due to make the final decision on the matter.
The Bush administration this week asked Congress for .4 billion in financial aid for future Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the highest amount possible under America's current agreement with Israel.
The financial aid issue is on the table once again because the previous agreement expires this budgetary year, after being in effect for a decade.
As prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu said in 1997 that Israel was interested in reducing, to the point of eliminating, the American funds allocated for civilian purposes in Israel. The agreement reached at the time gradually altered the structure of the assistance. At the time, Israel was receiving billion, of which .2 billion was allocated for civilian purposes
Under the new arrangement, it was agreed that 0 million would be cut from the overall aid package every year, while the funds allocated for security purposes would increase by million. As the agreement comes to an end, the civilian aid no longer exists and the security aid amounts to .4 billion.
Initial talks on a new financial aid package indicate that both the American and Israeli governments are interested in renewing the aid in an "orderly and permanent manner," as one person familiar with the issue put it, rather than having to go to the bother of returning to the system whereby Israel has to renew its aid request every year.