US and Israel Agree on Unprecedented Military Aid Deal of $38 Billion

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama
(Photo : Executive Office of the President/Wikipedia/CC) Israel and the US reached over a $38 billion military aid agreement, which is the highest package ever provided to any country.

The United States and Israel reached an agreement over a $38 billion package which includes US military assistance and aid to Israel over a period of 10 years. The deal will be signed on September 14.

This is the largest pledge of US military aid to any country in history.

The earlier $30 billion 10-year package granted by the US to Israel expires in 2018, which amounted to $3.1 billion per year. The new deal increases the aid to $3.8 billion per year.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the terms of the deal included some compromises on the part of Israel, such as prohibition from seeking more funds from Congress, an added condition to phase out US aid spending on its defense industry, and to progressively increase the use of aid for American made weapons.

Salai Meridor, former Israeli ambassador to US, said he appreciated the deal even when it did not have exact components as negotiated by Israel.

"I don't measure this relationship by the dollar number and whatever the exact number is. It is a reflection of the great relationship between the state of Israel and America," Meridor said.

He expressed his reservations on the restriction to seek more funds from Congress.

"Many of the important initiatives that have cemented the relationship have been the result of Congress's initiative," said Meridor. "I think this is an element of the agreement we might all regret in the future."

The US has provided aid to Israel for decades as Israel has been struggling with constant threats of military clashes with Palestine and other neighbors including Iran. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama were reportedly at odds after the US signed nuclear deal with Iran.

"It's an important message to the region that nobody should misread the differences between the US and Israel when it comes to Iran or policy differences when it comes to the Palestinians," David Makovsky of Washington Institute for Near East Policy told CNN. "At the core, the US remains very committed to Israel's long-term security."

The agreement came after 10 months of negotiations, according to the state department.

Tags US-Israel military package, US-Israel relations

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