New US military aid deal for Israel complete
The new pact 'constitutes the single largest pledge of bilateral military assistance in U.S. history', State Dept. says.
Michael Hernandez - WASHINGTON (AA) – The U.S. and Israel have concluded an agreement to increase Washington's military aid to Tel Aviv, the State Department announced Tuesday.
The new Memorandum of Understanding "constitutes the single largest pledge of bilateral military assistance in U.S. history," the State Department said in a statement.
The department did not lay out the sum that has been agreed upon, but the deal is said to provide Israel with at least $3.8 billion annually for a decade.
Acting Israeli National Security Advisor Jacob Nagel reportedly arrived in Washington earlier in the day to ink the accord with his American counterpart, Susan Rice.
The signing ceremony will take place on Wednesday, the State Department said.
Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Nagel is in Washington to hammer out the final details on the deal, including the wording of a joint statement marking its announcement.
The deal will replace a standing agreement that provides Israel with approximately $3.1 billion annually, but that deal has seen significant increases through additional congressional action, making Israel’s annual military aid from Washington roughly $3.5 billion.
As part of the new deal, Israel is to refrain from seeking additional aid from Congress for missile defense systems for the next decade, but Tel Aviv may request additional funding in case a new war breaks out, according to Haaretz.
A separate clause will nix Israel’s previous ability to use American funding to purchase armaments from its own military industry, and will instead require Israel to exclusively purchase from American arms manufacturers.
No other country that receives U.S. military aid is permitted to use the funds to purchase from non-U.S. firms. Israel is also the largest recipient of U.S. military assistance.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had reportedly been seeking $4.5 billion annually, making the accord’s sum significantly lower than what is likely to be agreed upon.
Negotiations have been running since November.
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