The economic-strategic dialogue between Israel and the US opened at the State Department today. An Israeli source said, “The discussion is necessary given the new strategic reality, and will have direct consequences on Israel’s security in the coming years.”
The present talks are the first of several rounds. Israel is seeking an increase in US military aid, which totaled $2.4 billion this year. Israel will reportedly ask for an additional $600 million in military aid, spread over 10-12 years, or $50-60 million a year.
A source close to the talks said, “In the first session, Israel will outline its new strategic map before the US and will analyze the strategic threats that did not exist when the previous aid framework was written in the late 1990s. If we can persuade the Americans of the needs derived from these threats, the task of obtaining increased aid will not be difficult.”
Governor of the Bank of Israel Prof. Stanley Fischer is heading the Israeli delegation. As the former No. 2 at the IMF, he has great prestige in Washington. “He combines the advantage of authority and the ability to talk with his American interlocutors as one of them. When Stanley talks, people listen,” said the source.
A member of the pro-Israel lobby in Washington told “Globes”, “Israel must now present itself as the perfect ally of the US if it wants to get a multi-year framework agreement on continued military aid. Mishaps, such arms sales to China or other countries that oppose US hegemony, are an own goal.”
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on March 1, 2007
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2007