WASHINGTON (Feb. 21)
The State Department announced Thursday that the United States intends to give Israel $3 billion in fiscal year 1989 after consideration of a decrease.
Deputy Secretary of State John Whitehead explained that the department looked into reducing aid to both Egypt and Israel, the two countries that receive the most U.S. foreign aid, because of budgetary constraints.
As in 1987 and 1988, Israel is designated to receive $1.8 billion in military aid and $1.2 billion in economic aid in 1989, all in the form of grants. The 1989 funding level was approved by Congress last year, when it concurrently set foreign aid levels for 1988 and 1989.
Egypt is to receive $2.3 billion in both 1988 and 1989, in keeping with Congress’ decision.
Whitehead said “some thought was given to” the reduction, “though there would be very little sympathy” in Congress.
The $14.3 billion overall foreign aid budget proposed for 1989 is actually lower than that of 1988, because of inflation and the decline in the dollar’s value abroad, Whitehead said. As a result, Ireland, Poland and Spain were eliminated from the foreign aid program in the 1989 budget.
Besides Egypt, other Arab countries designated to receive foreign aid in 1989 are Jordan ($18 million), Oman ($15 million), Morocco ($15 million), Tunisia ($12.5 million) and Lebanon ($300,000).
Other allocations include $7.5 million to private groups for development projects on the West Bank and Gaza Strip; $5 million to Israel and Egypt to conduct scientific exchanges; and $35 million for construction of a Voice of America transmitter in the Negev. Israel received $34 million last year for that purpose.