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State Department: US government shutdown could threaten military aid to Israel

October 2, 2013 22:57

US official tells 'Post' extended shutdown may affect assistance. In 2007, two countries agreed on 10-year, $30 billion package.

US Capitol building in Washington DC.

US Capitol building in Washington DC 390. (photo credit:Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)

The US federal government shutdown could have direct repercussions on the transfer of US aid to Israel, US State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday.

"The impact of the shutdown could threaten our ability to provide foreign military financing to Israel and other important allies," Harf said. "Security assistance funding for Israel is typically provided in early- to mid-November, and an extended shutdown has the potential to disrupt this critical military assistance program," she stated.

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"Without a continuing resolution or a full-year appropriation," Harf added, "fiscal year 2014 security assistance funding for Israel will be delayed.”

The Obama administration had requested $3.1 billion for Israel for the 2014 fiscal year that began on Oct. 1, the day US political stalemate forced a partial shutdown of government. In 2007, the two countries agreed on a 10-year, $30-billion military aid package covering the 2009-18 fiscal years.

Total US foreign military funding was about $5.5 billion for more than 80 countries in 2011, according to State Department data.

Harf said the State Department had not had to furlough any staff as a result of the government shutdown and visa and passport offices which run on fees remained open.

"While there are no furloughs, it's not just business as usual," she said. "And there are programs certainly that are affected, and which all could be up and running again if Congress could get some business done."

Offices at the State Department that have been closed as a result of the shutdown include the Office of the Inspector General and the International Boundary and Water Commission, Harf said.
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