WASHINGTON (May. 13)
The State Department has decided to release the remaining half of Israel’s economic aid for the 1982 fiscal year, Sen. Arlen Specter (R. Pa.) announced today. Israel will now receive $400 million due it.
An amendment to the Foreign Aid Appropriations bill, adopted last December, which was inserted by Specter, required Israel to get all the $806 million “no later than 30 days” following enactment of the legislation. But the United States followed its normal pattern of disbursing only half the sum at that time.
Specter had written to James Buckley, Undersecretary of State for Security Assistance, Science and Technology, on April 29, urging that the remaining money be disbursed. He charged, in the letter, that the State Department had not given Israel all the money “in violation of a direct Congressional mandate” because of the Reagan Administration’s objections to Israel’s extension of its civilian law to the Golan Heights.
In his letter, Specter noted that “Israel’s heroic action” in returning the Sinai to Egypt indicated “Israel’s commitment to achieving a lasting peace in the Middle East” and should “provide sufficient evidence to compel the Administration to reconsider its decision.”
Specter, who welcomed the State Department’s decision, said he originally had insisted on the 30-day disbursement proviso so that Israel would not have to increase its short term borrowing at prohibitively high interest rates which could cost as much as $30 million.