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Additional US aid to Israel in doubt

Jerusalem Post
August 12, 2002

The government is waiting anxiously to see if $200 million in extra aid approved by the US Congress last month will actually materialize.

The money, which was included in a $28.9 billion supplemental spending package, has been thrown into question because lawmakers exceeded President George W. Bush's request by $5b. The government says it needs the money because of shortages in the defense budget caused by increased security expenses.

While the US package is primarily directed for the war on terrorism, Bush's top priority, the recession and calls on Bush to act fiscally responsible make it unclear whether he will sign it into law.

"There's a real climate in Washington to be responsible," one source tracking the issue said.

"We're really waiting on the edge of our seats [for Bush's decision]," one Jewish American official said.

The pro-Israel lobby worked hard to ensure the aid would make it into the bill. It is unclear whether lobbyists had pushed to make it part of the president's original request, a move that would have guaranteed the funding.

Bush has until August 23 to sign or veto the bill, which also includes $50 million in humanitarian aid for the Palestinians. The Senate voted 92-7 in favor of the bill. There was similar strong support in the House.


Action Point:

By Just Peace Group

AIPAC put one over on the American people. Without any public debate the House and Senate have added $200 million for the Israeli government in the $29 billion Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill. However, unless the President designates the money as an "emergency" grant Sharon does not get the funding. I suggest a quick note be sent to the President. If he got a thousand emails tonight he might withhold support. My note below.

Dear Mr. President:

I'm writing to urge you not to declare an "emergency" with regard to Israel and to deny it the $200 million called for in the Supplemental Appropriations Bill. The Israeli press amply documents that the Palestinian militants, even including Hamas, were about to declare a unliteral ceasefire. The bombing of the apartment house in Gaza was a deliberate move to destroy any possibility of this ceasefire. The Sharon government wants continued warfare and should not be given any new money.