U.S. and Israel sign $38 billion military aid deal
- Author: Darren Santiago Sep 19, 2016,
Sep 19, 2016, 1:13
Israel and the United States on Wednesday signed the two countries largest-ever military aid deal, totaling $38 billion for Israel over the next decade.
After months of arduous negotiations the United States has signed its biggest-ever military aid package, granting Israel $38 billion (€34 billion) over the course of the next decade.
Thomas Shannon, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and Jacob Nagel, acting head of Israel's National Security Council, signed the MOU.
The 3.8 billion dollars-per-year deal is up from 3.1 billion dollars the USA gave Israel annually under the current 10-year deal, which expires in 2018.
Netanyahu didn't get everything he wanted in the military deal: He had to agree that Israel wouldn't lobby Congress for additional missile defense funds, as well as allowing the phasing out of an agreement that had allowed Israel to prioritize its own defense industry when spending the aid money, rather than buying from American companies.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands at a joint news conference at the Prime Minister's residence in Jerusalem, March 20, 2013. "It demonstrates America's strong and unwavering commitment to Israel". "As I have emphasised previously, the only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state is through the realisation of an independent and viable Palestine".
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And with new threats looming in Syria and Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was reportedly looking for a more substantial boost in defense aid - something to the tune of $45 billion. In another apparent concession, Israel has agreed not to ask US Congress to approve more funds than are included in the deal unless a new war breaks out.
Washington's ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, and Israel's ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer attended the ceremony in the State Department's Treaty Room.
"This agreement will ensure an unprecedented level of defense aid for Israel in the next decade", Netanyahu said. Also on Wednesday, retired U.S. Brigadier General Russell D. Howard, an American veteran Special Forces officer and academic, said at the IDC Herzliya Conference on Counter-Terrorism that "Israel is a key piece in the puzzle" to solving the world's growing terrorism problem.
In this September 11, 2016 file-pool photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he opens the weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office.
Yet the agreement triggered pushback from pro-Palestinian groups, who said the USA shouldn't reward Israel with unprecedented aid despite its settlement-building in the disputed West Bank.
Administration sources confirmed to me that the arrangement exists and said that the Israeli government had "volunteered" to give back any money above the deal's limits. "This does not mean that we do not disagree from time to time, but these disputes are within the family".