US aid for Israel tied to arms sales

Just before Christmas, President Barack Obama, signed one of the biggest US aid pledges of the year—$2.77 billion for Israel in 2010, and a total of $30 billion over the next decade. Israel is bound by the agreement to use 75% of the aid to buy military material made in the US. Israel has long been the top US aid recipient, followed by Egypt ($1.75 billion this year), which also receives most of its assistance in tied military aid. This is the first time the proviso is being applied to Israel.

The US is also for the first time providing $500 million to the Palestinian Authority, including $100 million to train security forces. A strict proviso tied to this aid is that the Authority’s leadership recognize Israel.

The Congressional Research Service says that the US spent 17% of its total aid budget—or $5.1 billion—on military aid in 2008. Of this, $4.7 billion was in grants to enable governments to purchase equipment from the US.

Under the Obama administration, this year’s aid budget has been increased by 10% to nearly $50 billion to support counter-terrorism efforts. This does not include so-called “1206” Pentagon counter-terrorism funds. (Sydney Morning Herald, Jan. 2)

See our last post on Israel/Palestine.

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