BUSH PLEDGES TO INCREASE US FUNDING TO ISRAEL
In a White House statement issued following Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's visit to Washington, President George W. Bush pledged to increase US military aid to Israel over the course of the next decade.
An American team will land in Israel in July to finalize the deal. Israel currently receives an annual $2.4 billion in military aid.
"I am strongly committed to Israel's security and viability as a Jewish state, and to the maintenance of its qualitative military edge," said Bush in the statement.
Olmert and Bush met in private for a lengthy three-hour meeting in the White House, focused on the ongoing negotiations to increase US aid to Israel.
"During our meeting today, I told Prime Minister Olmert that I am committed to reaching a new ten-year agreement that will give Israel the increased assistance it requires to meet the new threats and challenges it faces," said the president.
Talks between groups of Israeli and American professionals over the past few months reviewed Israel's increased military spenditure in the face of the growing Iranian threat. The new talks were launched during Olmert's previous visit to Washington.