Israel won’t see aid cuts under US President Donald Trump budget plan: State Dept.

March 17, 2017 10:30 pm

President (R) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands following a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, February 15, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The US State Department says that President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would not reduce American aid to Israel.
“Our assistance to Israel is, if I could say, a cutout on the budget, and that’s guaranteed, and that reflects, obviously, our strong commitment to one of our strongest partners and allies,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters in Washington, DC on Thursday.
“With respect to other assistance levels, foreign military assistance levels, those are still being evaluated and decisions are going to be made going forward,” he added.
 The State Department also said the assistance levels to other nations, including Egypt and Jordan, were still being evaluated.
“We’re still at the very beginning of the budget process, and in the coming months these are all going to be figures that we evaluate and look at hard, obviously bearing in mind … our treaty obligations going forward,” it said.
Trump’s $1.5 trillion budget blueprint has seen drastic spending cuts in foreign aid and US domestic programs as the president seeks to boost military spending and make a down payment on a border wall with Mexico.
It includes $54 billion to finance US combat operations abroad. The budget proposal has been submitted to Congress for ratification.

Donald Trump speaks at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) during his presidential campaign on March 21, 2016. 

“(The President’s 2018 budget) provides $3.1 billion to meet the security assistance commitment to Israel, currently at an all-time high, ensuring that Israel has the ability to defend itself from threats and maintain its qualitative military edge,” the budget reads.
The American-Israeli deal requires at least $3.8 billion in annual aid, up from $3.1 billion per year under the current pact, which expires in 2018. Israel had originally requested at least $4.5 billion a year.
The new package will include money for Israeli missile systems, which until now has been funded separately by Congress. American lawmakers have given Israel about $600 million in annual funds for this purpose in recent years.
Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of US foreign assistance since World War II. America’s military assistance to Israel has amounted to $124.3 billion since it began in 1962, according to a recent congressional report.
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