Sharon to ask Bush for $2b for disengagement, fence

The Prime Ministers Office claims US demands for changes in the separation fence route mean NIS 1.5 billion will be wasted.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will ask US President George W. Bush for $2 billion in aid next week to finance the evacuation of settlements in the Gaza strip and several settlements in the West Bank. With this money, Sharon intends to finance the construction of two settlements in the Negev, and compensation to those who will be forced to leave their homes. Sharon also seeks to finance a railway from Eilat to the center of the country in this way.

Sharon is also due to ask Bush for help in financing construction of the separation fence on a new route, close to the Green Line. The Prime Ministers Office estimates that the aid request will be granted in part, and that even if it is granted, the aid will be given in the form of long-term loans.

The Prime Ministers Office claims that the demand by the US that the route of the fence should be changed means that NIS 1.5 billion will have been wasted. Ministry officials therefore believe that there are grounds for requesting US aid in this matter.

Published by Globes [online] - www.globes.co.il - on February 8, 2004

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