President Bush signs bill pledging yearly aid to Israel for FY2008
President Bush signed a bill advocating $2.42 billion in US aid to Israel, which includes $2.38 billion in military aid and $39.6 million to assist in the resettlement of refugees from the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and Ethiopia. The aid package is the final year of a ten-year plan between the U.S. and Israel to phase out economic aid while increasing military aid. A new ten-year package was recently signed that pledges $30 billion to Israel in security assistance.
The bill also includes restrictions on the Palestinian Authority, prohibiting U.S. funds to be used to pay the salaries of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. It also prohibits U.S. funds to be used in any Hamas-Fatah reconciliation, if Hamas does not first recognize Israel’s right to exist, as well as PA reports on specific steps taken to dismantle the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure.
The bill also includes, for the first time, a provision stipulating Egypt must take steps to detect and destroy the smuggling network from Sinai to Gaza as a condition for its $100 million aid package from the U.S.
Source: Near East Report