Israeli aid tab: $10 billion yearly
By Joe Baker, Senior Editor
U.S. aid to Israel costs American taxpayers $10 billion yearly, according to American Free Press.
The AFP conclusion is supported by a paper prepared by the Congressional Research Service last month, titled Israel: U.S. Foreign Assistance.
The briefing paper states: U.S. aid to Israel has some unique aspects, such as loans with repayment waived, or a pledge to provide Israel with economic assistance equal to the amount Israel owes the United States for previous loans.
The report continues: Israel also receives special benefits that may not be available to other countries, such as the use of U.S. military assistance for research and development in the United States, the use of U.S. military assistance for military purchases in Israel, or receiving all of its assistance in the first 30 days of the fiscal year, rather than in three or four installments as other countries do.
To pass out such largesse, the U.S. has to borrow the money it gives the Israeli government in a lump sum at the start of each fiscal year. That means U.S. taxpayers pay the interest on all the money sent to Israel as aid.
These details became public as Israel is demanding another $12 billion on top of other aid, because a huge drop in tourism and the high cost of its defense budget has driven its economy to the edge. Celebrations at Christmas and Easter drew fewer pilgrims than usual because of fears of violence.
Israel also wants more U.S. dollars in the road map to peace in the Mid East. They are unhappy with the plan because it would require them to get out of part of the occupied territories.
In what may prove a diplomatic gaffe, President Bush said he would invite Mahmoud Abbas, the new Palestinian prime minister, to Washington for peace talks, but would not invite Yasser Arafat.
Abbas said he will not visit any foreign capitals until travel restrictions on Arafat are lifted and guarantees of a safe return are in hand.
Ariel Sharon, prime minister of Israel, said Arafat is free to travel abroad. but he will not guarantee he can return.