Payout Debate Delaying New U.S. Aid Agreement with Israel

[Reuters] Dan Williams - Completion of a deal to boost U.S. defense aid to Israel to $30 billion over a decade has been held up amid a brewing dispute over when and how the new funds would be disbursed, a senior Israeli official said on Wednesday. The Bush administration, faced with a yawning budget deficit, wanted to increase the aid incrementally. Israel, which has been scrambling to build up its military since last year's Lebanon war and ahead of any showdown with Iran, has asked to receive a chunk of the funds up front, or for the money to be spread evenly over ten years. "Israel has acute security needs, particularly over the next two or three years," the Israeli official said. With President George W. Bush - a major ally for Israel - leaving office in 17 months, the Israelis are keen to lock down a stable aid-payout deal now.

2007-08-09 01:00:00

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