After nearly a year of negotiations, Israel and the United States have signed a record $38 billion, 10-year military aid package.
The deal is “the single largest military assistance package—with any country—in American history,” American ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said earlier this week.
The current U.S.-Israel military aid agreement, which expires in 2018, provided $3 billion per year over ten years (which didn’t include an additional $500 million added annually by Congress).
Acting Israeli National Security adviser Jacob Nagel arrived in Washington on Tuesday to finalize the deal in a meeting with U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Haaretz reported. One of the final hangups in negotiations had been over funding for the development of new missile defense systems. In the end, $5 billion will be designated for such systems. In exchange, Israel has promised not to seek supplementary defense funding from Congress, except in the case of war.
Israel will also no longer be able to spend 26 percent of its aid money on Israeli military equipment. Instead, like all other recipients of American military aid, Israel will only be able to buy from American military manufacturers. This will re-inject the aid dollars back into the American economy, but will harm the Israeli defense industry, which was given a six-year phaseout period to adjust.
The deal is likely to be signed by lower-level officials, Reuters reported — heads of state do not normally attend signing ceremonies of such agreements. But both sides left open the possibility that President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could meet later this month at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
This is a lightly edited version of the original article published by TheTower.org at http://www.thetower.org/3914-u-s-israel-sign-record-10-year-38-billion-defense-package/