The US Secretary of State believes that Israel should return millions of dollars in military aid to America.
Sources claim that Rex Tillerson has already discussed the issue with President Donald Trump.
Israel is the biggest single recipient of US military aid from the State Department’s foreign military financing budget, and also receives some direct support from Pentagon funds for specific projects.
Press TV reports:
The State Department has been lobbying with the White House to convince Israel to hand back some $75 million in aid it was given last year, on top of the military aid that it receives annually, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
The then-President Barack Obama’s administration came under fire last year for trying to limit Israel’s ability to lobby with Congress for more money in case new conflicts break out in the Middle East.
Critics argued back then that extra payments were necessary in order to fund Israel’s several key military projects.
The report noted that Tillerson’s chief of staff, Margaret Peterlin, had personally advised White House National Security Council official Dina Powell about the secretary’s stance.
While Tillerson’s spokesman has denied such conversations, sources within the administration told the Beacon that the White House had balked at the request and made it clear that Trump had the final say on the issue.
The state secretary hopes that the request would be brought up in a White House meeting with Israeli officials, the report noted. Trump is slated to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in a few days.
Last September, the US and Israel agreed on a record new package of at least $38 billion in US military aid over a period of 10 years.