Photo: Reuters
Nicolas Burns. Postponed visit
Photo: Reuters
Israel requests changes to US military aid
US to boost aid from $24 to $30 billion over next 10 years. Washington now considering request to add regular annual sum instead of current additional 4%
The United States is considering Israel's request to redistribute the increased military aid agreed on between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and US President George W Bush.


US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns who was scheduled to arrive in Israel to sign off on the new deal has postponed his visit until after Washington officials have reviewed the Israeli proposal.


According to the agreement between Olmert and Bush US military aid would grow annually by four percent – over a period of 10 years, bringing the total sum to $30 billion from the current $24 billion.


However due to changes in security needs Israel has requested an unchanging yearly addition to the budget over that same time period (so that instead of a $105 million addition the first year, it would already be the fixed $600 million).


Washington asked for time to review the new math and sources within Olmert's office stressed that the only issue on the line was the requested deviation from the original agreement and not a complete withdrawal from it.


Following the Camp David Accords Israel began receiving an annual budget of $3 billion from the US, including $1.8 in military aid and $1.2 in civilian aid.


During former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's tenure in the mid-'90s Israel worked towards decreasing foreign aid and an agreement was made to gradually lower civilian aid by $120 million over a 10-year period until its complete abolition and correspondingly increase military aid by $60 million.


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