Shorts: U.S.

Netanyahu meeting Cheney, Clinton

Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu flew to the United States Tuesday night, June 19, where he was expected to meet with Vice President Dick Cheney, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton and New York state officials.

Netanyahu, who met with Clinton rival Sen. Barack Obama on his last visit to the United States, will focus on the Iranian issue in the discussions.

The Likud leader began a campaign several months ago to persuade the governors and legislators of American states to divest their pension funds from Iran. Florida and Ohio already have passed such measures and California is expected to do so this summer. — jps

Israel negotiating new U.S. aid package

Israel is negotiating a 10-year extension to the annual assistance package it receives from the United States.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who met Tuesday, June 19 with President Bush at the White House, said a number of meetings have been set up to shape the new agreement and it is his hope that “it will be greater than before.” This year, Israel received $2.4 billion in defense assistance, and no economic assistance for the first time since the early 1970s.

This was the final year of a 10-year arrangement that increased defense assistance by $60 million a year while reducing economic assistance by $120 million a year. Israel negotiated the end to economic assistance in the late 1990s, when its economy was booming and reliance on the United States was beginning to be perceived as embarrassing. — jta