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August 27, 1993 - Image 108

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-08-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Israel To Change
Arms Purchases

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108

Washington (JTA) — Begin-
ning next year, Israel may
be facing major changes in
how it buys its defense
equipment from the United
States.
The Pentagon announced
earlier this summer that as
of January 1994, it would
end the commercial sales
channel of the Foreign
Military Financing pro-
gram, under which Israel
buys a substantial part of its
equipment.
FMF is a program
assisting U.S. allies in buy-
David Obey:
ing weapons and other
Advocates aid reform.
defense equipment, gen-
erally from the United
purchases were through
States.
commercial channels.
Currently, some FMF
Certain types of equip-
recipients, such as Israel and
ment, Ms. Yaron said, can
Egypt, can go through either
only be obtained through
a government channel, in
commercial channels.
which the U.S. government
Israeli officials have raised
buys desired items on behalf
the issue with U.S. officials,
of the recipient, or a com-
and Ms. Yaron said the
mercial channel, in which
Americans were "sympa-
the foreign government
thetic to Israel's needs.
engages in direct commer-
cial contracts with suppliers.
Ms. Yaron said that the
Israel is the largest reci-
Israelis would ultimately
pient of FMF funds, with an
like a solution under which
annual grant of $1.8 billion
exceptions to the govern-
per year.
ment-channel policy could be
The Israeli government is
currently hoping an ar-
rangement can be worked
out with the U.S govern-
ment that would enable it to
continue purchasing certain
items through commercial
channels, according to Ruth
Yaron, the Israeli Embassy
spokeswoman here.
Ms. Yaron said that about
one-third of Israel's FMF
made, at the discretion of the
purchases are currently go-
U.S. administration.
ing through commercial
The Israelis have "no com-
channels. "We attach great
plaint or disagreement"
importance to that," she
with the Americans on the
said.
issue, Ms. Yaron said.
Israel is concerned that if
Some in the pro-Israel
it is barred from buying
community expressed con-
equipment through commer-
cern that the new policy rep-
resents a real problem, and
cial channels, it will not be
able to purchase some of the
could dramatically affect the
equipment it needs. Certain
methods by which Israel
buys its military equipment.
equipment is not available
through the government,
But others played down
the importance of the Pen-
and some that is available is
cheaper when purchased
tagon announcement, saying
through commercial
either that a compromise
channels.
would be worked out or that
the policy would eventually
A recent congressional
not be implemented at all.
report said that Israel
allocated over half, or about
The Pentagon announced
60 percent, of its FMF pur-
this past June that it was
chases to the commercial
planning to terminate the
commercial channel.
channel during the 1992
fiscal year.
According to a Pentagon
The report said the figure
statement, the decision was
did represent a large drop
made in part because of con-
from earlier years, during
gressional criticism of the
program.
which almost all of Israel's

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