Tuesday, May 30, 2006
US aid for Israel $2.46 billion in 2007
The foreign aid bill includes $2.34 billion military aid for Israel and $120 million civilian aid. Civilian aid will end in 2009.
Ran Dagoni, Washington
28 May 06 12:43
On Friday, the US House of Representatives Appropriations Committee approved the 2007 house foreign aid bill, which includes $2.46 billion for Israel. $2.34 billion of this amount will be military aid, and $120 million will be civilian aid.
US aid for Israel is calculated according to a formula set in the late 1990s by then-Minister of Finance Yaakov Neeman and then Israel Economic Minister to Washington Ohad Marani to gradually eliminate US civilian aid to Israel, and which was adopted by the US administration. The feeling in Israel at the time was Congress would not support civilian aid for long to a country with a developed economy like Israel’s.
Under the formula, US civilian aid for Israel is cut by $120 million a year, until it’s elimination in the 2009 US fiscal year. At the same time, US military aid for Israel would increase by $60 million a year to a ceiling of $2.4 billion a year, beginning in 2009. Israel will receive its last $60 million of US civilian aid in the 2008 US fiscal year.
The House appropriations bill must now go to a House plenum vote. The US Senate is now preparing its own appropriations bill. When approved, the two bills will go to a joint appropriations committee, which will reach a compromise between the House and Senate bills.
Under the House bill, US foreign aid will total $23.1 billion in 2007. As in every year, Israel is the largest recipient of US foreign aid, followed by Egypt ($1.7 billion, including $1.3 billion in military aid).
Efforts by the Egyptian government to strangle emerging signs of democracy in the country have roused the ire of Congress, and caused Congressman David Obey (Dem.-Wisconsin), the ranking Democratic on the House Appropriations Committee, to initiate a proposal to freeze some aid to Egypt until democratic reforms are instituted. However, the Bush administration made it clear that it opposed the initiative. US government officials and other legislators said Egypt was an important US ally in the war on terrorism. Nevertheless, even supporters of US aid for Egypt expressed concern about its poor human rights record.
Members of Congress are most incensed over the Egyptian government’s persecution of opposition activist and MP Iman Noor, sentenced to five years in prison by a Cairo court. Critics claim the charges were bogus. Congressman Obey’s amendment to the House foreign aid bill failed to pass the committee, but he and Congressman Tom Lantos (Dem.-California) have initiated a second, much tougher, amendment than the one that failed in committee.
The House foreign aid bill includes $3.4 billion to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria; $522 million for stabilization efforts in Iraq; and $962 million for Afghanistan.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - on May 28, 2006
Here is an example of how the US aid is used
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Last update - 10:35 31/05/2006
Collateral damage: Entire Gaza family
By Gideon Levy
The entire family of Hamdi Aman, a 28-year-old Palestinian from Gaza who spent his youth in Tel Aviv's Carmel market, was hit in the assassination of Islamic Jihad operative Mohammed Dahdouh in Gaza a week and a half ago. Aman's 7-year-old son Muhand was killed; Naima, his wife, 27, was killed; his mother Hanan, 46, was killed. His three and a half year old daughter Mariya is lying in the pediatric intensive care unit at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, permanently paralyzed and on a respirator. Aman is not allowed to be with her. His youngest son, Muaman, 2, was lightly wounded by shrapnel in his back, and Aman himself was hit by shrapnel throughout his body. His uncle Nahed, 33, a father to two toddlers, is fully paralyzed and in critical condition at Tel Aviv's Sourasky Medical Center. The Amans had bought a used Mitsubishi car 11 days ago, and took it for a maiden spin through the Gargash neighborhood in Gaza City. There were eight of them in the car: five adults and three toddlers. Mariya stood dancing on her mother's knees. When they drove down the busy industrial street and passed the home of Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar, they felt a powerful blow to the left side of the car exactly when a Magnum van carrying Dahdouh passed them on the left. A massive blast occurred, the van with the dead Jihad operative in it was in flames, and Hamdi was faced with the horror that his entire family had been hit. Israel Air Force chief Major General Eliezer Shkedi said the next day that "we still have to check" what killed the Aman family. The IDF Spokesman's Office also told Haaretz this week, 10 days after the assassination, that the IDF is "continuing to investigate in order to check the report that three Palestinians were killed as a result of the attack on Dahdouh's car."