US aid to Israel

For the fiscal year 1984, which ends Sept. 30, United States aid to Israel was $2.61 billion. Of this, $850 million was an outright gift. The balance of $1 .76 billion was in the form of loans.

The budget for US aid to Israel for the new 1985 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, stands at the moment at $2.6 billion - all of it in outright grants.

Both this newspaper and the Wall Street Journal have reported that by the end of this month Israel will ask Washington for an additional $700 million for fiscal 1985 to help tide Israel over its immediate financial crisis.

Inflation is now running at over 400 percent. Israel's hard-currency reserves are down to $2.3 billion. The current Israeli trade deficit is running at between $4 billion and $5 billion a year.

The Jerusalem Post, in its issue of Aug. 12-18, quoted Israel ''Treasury sources'' as saying that Israel will ''present the US with a $5 billion aid request for the coming fiscal year.''

If the emergency request for an additional $700 million for fiscal 1985 goes through and if Congress agrees to boost the Israeli grant for fiscal 1986 to the figure reported in the Jerusalem Post, but since repudiated by the Israeli government, then the actual outright US grant to Israel will go up from $1.76 billions for fiscal '84 to $3.3 billion for fiscal '85 and to $5 billion for fiscal '86.

At the fiscal '84 figure of $2.61 billion, Israel was the largest recipient of US foreign aid. The fiscal '84 US budget provided a total of roughly $12 billion for all foreign aid. Egypt is second after Israel, at $2.05 billion.

US aid to Egypt is the price the US pays Egypt for keeping the peace with Israel, hence it is part of the cost of Israel to the US taxpayer.

If US aid to Israel climbs to the $5 billion level for fiscal '86, Israel and Egypt together will be receiving more than half of all US foreign aid.

Israel's need for more US aid is due largely to three factors: (1) Israel's unsuccessful invasion of Lebanon, (2) the program of planting settlements for Israelis in occupied territories, and (3) the indexing of wages to inflation.

The indexing of wages is a political luxury which the US does not accord to its own wage earners.

The program for planting settlements for Israelis in the occupied territories is contrary to the wishes of the government of the US. Previous US administrations have called it illegal. The Reagan administration has requested that it be suspended to make possible a resumption of negotiations with the neighboring Arab countries aimed at a lasting peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

The invasion of Lebanon was launched against urgent representations in Washington. It was condemned overwhelmingly in the United Nations.

If the US gives Israel what Israel is planning to request, it will be subsidizing for Israel the luxury of indexed wages, plus the continuation of two points of foreign policies that block the way toward a comprehensive peace in the Middle East. The Arabs will not begin peace talks unless Israel first withdraws from southern Lebanon (an occupation left over from the invasion of Lebanon) and suspends building and populating the settlements in the occupied territories.

If the government in Washington were free to do what it would like to do about the Middle East, it would inform Israel that there could not be one more penny of aid to Israel of any kind unless or until it embarked on economic austerity at home, suspended the Israeli settlements in occupied territories, and withdrew totally from Lebanon.

Washington is not free to do what it would like to do in this matter. The pro-Israel lobby has repeatedly proved that it can outvote the administration in both House and Senate on any issue touching Israel. There are now over 50 pro-Israel political-action committees (PACs) raising funds to defeat any senator or congressman who might vote against Israel's wishes.

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