Israel, U.S. To Sign Unprecedented Military Aid Package This Week

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A final agreement has been reached between the United States and Israel on a historic ten-year, $38 billion military aid package to Israel. The agreement, set to be signed in a U.S. State Department ceremony Wednesday, is the largest military aid pledge the U.S. has made to any country. The deal has been reached in exchange for significant concessions from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. These include Israel not seeking additional funding from Congress beyond what is promised in the package.

An arrangement allowing Israel to spend part of the U.S. aid it receives on its own defense industry, rather than American products, would have to be scrapped as well, officials were cited by Reuters on Tuesday as saying. Netanyahu also agreed to stop using 13% of the U.S. funds allocated to Israel on military fuel purchases.

The negotiations are offset by the Obama administration’s notoriously strained relationship with Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Obama administration has criticized Israel over settlement construction and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In light of the tense relationship between Obama and Netanyahu, the deal will be signed by two of the leaders top aides, rather than Obama and Netanyahu themselves.  The two may meet on the sidelines during next week’s U.N. General Assembly in New York.

The new U.S.-Israel deal represents a significant monetary boost from the current pact, which provides $3.1 billion to Israel annually. The old deal is set to expire in 2018, according to officials. The deal to be signed Wednesday still falls somewhat short of Netanyahu’s original goal of $4.5 billion a year, according to various media.

09/13/2016 6:00 PM by Menachem Rephun

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