'US budget cuts won't affect military aid to Israel'

White House, Congress officials clarify that financial crisis won't affect aid; "Obama authorized sale of bunker bombs to Israel," 'Newsweek' reports.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
September 23, 2011 11:40
1 minute read.
Weapons [illustrative]

missile on victoria for gallery 512. (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)

 
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Senior US officials clarified during a series of meetings with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz Washington has no intention of downsizing military aid to Israel, despite the drastic cuts in the US budget, according to a Finance Ministry statement Friday.

Steinitz met with the senior White House and Congress officials in Washington, where he was attending an International Monetary Fund conference, during which he was expected to meet with finance ministers from all over the world.

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The announcement comes as a report said that US President Barack Obama secretly authorized significant new aid to the IDF in 2009, including the sale of 55 deep-penetrating bombs known as bunker busters.

The GBU-28 Hard Target Penetrators were delivered to Israel in 2009, according to American weekly magazine Newsweek.

According to the report, the military sale was arranged behind the scenes when political ties were tense as Obama tried to stop settlement building in the West Bank.

Israel first put in a request for the bunker busters in 2005, but it was rebuffed by the Bush administration.

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In 2007, Bush informed former prime minister Ehud Olmert that he would order the bunker busters for delivery in 2009 or 2010, according to the magazine.

The Marine Corps general who served until August as the vice chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, James Cartwright, told Newsweek that the military chiefs had no objections to the sale.

According to Cartwright, there was a concern about “how the Iranians would perceive it,” and “how the Israelis might perceive it.”

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