This in Ha'aretz on 18 Feb 2003:
Aid to Israel from U.S. to shrink by $17 million By Nathan Guttman
WASHINGTON - Israel's military and civilian aid from the United States will be cut by 0.65 percent this year, according to the foreign aid bill approved by the U.S. Congress last Thursday.
Congress enacted an across-the-board cut of 0.65 percent in every item of the budget, in an effort to cope with America's huge deficit, which is expected to grow even further if the United States declares war on Iraq.
Currently, Israel receives $2.7 billion a year from the United States - $2.1 billion in military aid and $600 million in civilian aid. The cut will reduce this sum by about $17 million.
Israeli sources in the United States said that Israel had not made an effort to protest the cut, since it was an across-the-board decision that affected every item in the American budget.
For the first time, the bill passed last Thursday also includes articles forbidding the transfer of funds for establishing a Palestinian state until it is proved that the Palestinians are fighting terror. The bill also increases U.S. supervision of UNRWA, the UN Relief and Works Agency, in an effort to ensure that the agency does not assist Palestinian terrorist organizations.
On Wednesday, an Israeli delegation will fly to Washington to discuss Jerusalem's request for additional aid on top of its regular annual package. Israel is requesting $4 billion in defense aid and $8 billion in loan guarantees over the next three years.
The delegation, headed by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's bureau chief, Dov Weisglass, will be hoping to receive the U.S. administration's preliminary response to Israel's request. Israel believes that the administration is now ready to give an answer, after it gave approval in principle last week to Turkey's request for $20 billion in special aid.
The response to Turkey indicates that the administration has already begun to draft a supplementary budget, which it will ask Congress to approve following the anticipated war with Iraq. The special aid to Israel is supposed to be part of this package, which will also include aid to Jordan and perhaps to Egypt as well.