WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush's administration will submit its proposed budget for US foreign aid in 2008 to Congress on Wednesday, requesting USD 20.27 billion - a more than 12 percent increase in foreign aid from 2007.
However America's foreign aid budget composes only a small portion of its overall budget of USD 2.9 trillion.
Israel, long since the US' top recipient of foreign aid, will receive USD 2.4 billion. Since 1979 and the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, Israel has annually received up to USD 3 billion in aid.
As part of with an initiative by then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the civilian aid has been steadily decreased over the course of the past 10 years, going from USD 1.2 million to being completely cancelled this year. At the same time military aid to Israel has increased from USD 1.8 billion to USD 2.4 billion.
Egypt received the second largest aid package from the US and will receive USD 1.3 billion in military aid as well as USD 415 million in civilian aid. Jordan will receive USD 264 million in economic aid as well as USD 200 million in military aid.
Aid to the Palestinian Authority has been frozen following Hamas' victory in the recent PA elections. Despite this President Bush has asked Congress to authorize the transfer of USD 63.6 million in aid to the Palestinians, to be appropriated by the United States Agency for International Development.
Lebanon is expected to receive some USD 52 million in aid in 2008, this in addition to the special aid the administration already sought for Lebanon in 2007 – totaling at USD 580 million.
Reuters contributed to this report