Israel, for the fourth year in a row, asked the United States on Friday for $3 billion in yearly aid, and U.S. Ambassador William Brown said he is confident it will be granted without political conditions.
Finance Minister Shimon Peres asked for the aid at a meeting with Brown. Israel receives the largest amount of U.S. foreign aid.
Brown said he does not think the Bush Administration or Congress will use aid as a lever to force Israeli concessions in response to the Palestinian uprising in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. He also said the request will probably be approved despite efforts to cut the giant U.S. budget deficit.
“The basic, fundamental sentiment . . . remains of staunch, unswerving support for Israel and an appreciation of its security needs,” Brown told Israel Radio.
Peres expressed confidence that the request will be granted and said a peace settlement might someday reduce the need for aid.