ADC Urges President Bush to Reject Israel’s Request for More Money
WASHINGTON DC – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) today urged the Bush Administration to deny a new request by the Sharon government for $14 billion in additional military assistance and loan guarantees.
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Dov Weisglass, Sharon’s bureau chief, and Ohad Marani, director general of the Israeli Finance Ministry, made the Israeli request yesterday in a meeting with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. The aid request by Israel includes $4 billion in military assistance and $10 billion in U.S. loan guarantees.
ADC President Ziad J. Asali and Executive Vice President Khalil E. Jahshan expressed deep concern to President Bush over news reports that the Administration is rushing through its evaluation of the Israeli request without serious consideration of its negative political implications for the U.S. national interests. Israeli sources stated today that the Administration promised Prime Minister Sharon to quickly approve his request “with minor changes.”
Asali and Jahshan took issue with the Administration’s rationale for recent increase in U.S. aid to Israel based on threats emanating from the proliferation of arms in the region and risks undertaken by the Sharon government in the pursuit of peace. The ADC officials described Israel as “the most serious violator in terms of the proliferation of both conventional arms and weapons of mass destruction throughout the region.” They quoted from today’s Ha’aretz about Israel’s decision yesterday not to join the “new International Code of Conduct aimed at blocking proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile technology.”
The ADC letter also challenged the Administration’s assessment that Sharon has taken substantial risks in the pursuit of peace. Asali and Jahshan reminded President Bush that Sharon has persistently rejected the President’s appeals to withdraw Israeli troops from Palestinian cities, ease up restrictions on Palestinian civilians, freeze illegal Jewish settlement activity, and transfer to the Palestinian Authority tax revenues withheld by the Israeli government. They reminded President Bush that rewarding Sharon’s hard-line policies at this critical juncture “will not contribute to your vision of two independent states living side by side in peace and security.”