As American Infrastructure Crumbles, US Announces $38 Billion Israel Military Aid Package

Gov. Brown on Jan. 29 2014

The MOU was a reminder, added, "of the United States' unshakeable commitment to Israel's security".

Relations between the two leaders were already chilly, not helped along by Obama's public calls for Netanyahu to stop settlement building in the West Bank, which the USA considers to be counterproductive to a two-state solution.

Obama's public remarks indicated he wanted to solidify and enhance Israeli defense support for the years beyond his presidency.

Mr Obama is seeking to demonstrate his support for Israel's security after facing criticism from Republicans who accuse him of falling short.

The U.S. has long provided Israel with a substantial annual military aid package, which is meant to help the country maintain a military edge over its neighbors and is often touted as the bedrock of the relationship. Tensions between Obama and Netanyahu over the US-Iran nuclear deal past year and US concerns about Israel's treatment of Palestinians drew out the process, but ultimately Mr. Netanyahu apparently decided it would be best to make the arrangement official before Obama leaves office in January, rather than take chances with his successor.

U.S. and Israeli officials today signed a military aid package which will see the USA give Israel $38 billion worth of equipment over the next decade.

In the midst of those tensions, US and Israeli officials negotiated for months over the terms of the agreement.

Israel will receive, among other things, $500m a year for missile defence programmes.

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

The United States made its biggest pledge of military aid in history on Wednesday, promising Israel $38 billion over ten years to buy advanced planes and weaponry and boost its missile defense shield.

President Obama was unwilling to budge on the issue and as a result, Netanyahu fears for the economic well-being of Israeli defense firms that rely heavily on revenue from the American largesse. Nagel and U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon will sign the document.

Netanyahu appears to have agreed to several major concessions.

The talks over the deal have taken many long months and one of the bones of contention has been the U.S. insistence that the existing protocol be cancelled, whereby Israel was allowed to spend 25% of the aid in procurement from Israel's defense industries. Besides this formal aid, the United States also provides substantial aid to Israel for different projects like the missile defense system "Iron Dome".

The new agreement eliminates Israel's ability to spend a fraction of the funds on fuel for its military.

Netanyahu and Obama both plan to be in NY next week for UN General Assembly meetings, but officials have not announced any plans for a formal meeting.

Negotiations leading to the deal were largely concluded weeks ago.

"It sounds like a bit of a difference, but then if you look at the money that the US Congress routinely gives Israel on top of that $3.1bn, it's really not that much more", Culhane said.

It was unclear, however, whether the administration's differences with Graham had been resolved or it had chose to go ahead with the announcement anyway.

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