netanyahu - GPO - May 20 2011
U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the White House lawn. Photo by GPO
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Veteran Washington Post columnist Walter Pincus has urged the U.S. administration to reevaluate the extent of the defense aid that the United States provides to Israel. Pincus, who has been reporting on intelligence, defense and foreign policy for the Washington Post for 45 years, says the change in U.S. policy that he is calling for is a necessity in light of Israel's decision to slash its defense budget by some NIS 3 billion, in keeping with the recommendations of the Trajtenberg Committee.

In an article published last week, Pincus writes: "If Israel can reduce its defense spending because of its domestic economic problems, shouldn't the United States - which must cut military costs because of its major budget deficit - consider reducing its aid to Israel?"

Pincus notes that among the cost-saving measures currently under consideration by Israel is a delay in purchasing more Iron Dome systems beyond the four to be paid for by a special U.S. aid package of $205 million that the Obama administration transferred to Israel at the beginning of the year. Israel is also mulling a freeze on spending on other missile defense systems that are being manufactured in conjunction with the United States, Pincus adds.

"The question for the Obama administration, Congress and, in the end, perhaps the American public, is: Given present economic problems, should the United States supply the money to make up for reductions the Israelis are making in their own defense budget?" Pincus asks.

Pincus' call is the second of its kind that has come out of the United States recently. Last week, during a debate between potential Republican presidential candidates, Congressman Ron Paul said if elected president, he would stop all U.S. economic aid to its allies, including Israel.