The United States and Israel have come to terms on a new, record-setting 10-year, $38 billion military aid deal that will reportedly require the Middle Eastern nation to make several military concessions. However, the agreement won't be final until it is officially signed later this week.
The deal, reached in principle Tuesday, will fund Israel with $3.8 billion a year — up from the $3.1 billion under the current agreement that expires in 2018 — and was worked out over the last 10 months after the administrations of U.S. President Barack Obama and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quarreled over the nuclear deal with Iran and relations with Palestinians, according to Reuters.
Netanyahu, a former elite Israeli commando turned leader of the right-leaning Likud Party who has recently come under fire for saying Palestinians support “ethnic cleansing,” reportedly wanted to iron out a deal before Obama’s second and final term ends. He was also originally aiming for $4.5 billion in annual funds, but the new deal is expected to be formally announced later this week.
Officials from each country told Reuters Netanyahu didn’t want to wait and see if “better terms” were on the horizon with the new U.S. commander-in-chief, which will either be Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump.
That’s a strong about-face by Netanyahu who, according to the Washington Post, told members of his cabinet in February that he could wait and “reach an agreement with the next administration.”
Members of Obama’s administration were also pushing to finish the deal, as they reportedly view it as important to his legacy since many have accused him of less than full-throated support for Israel. The deal states Israel cannot ask Congress for more funds and mandates the country must ultimately, yet gradually, use the funds to procure services from American defense contractors instead of its own defense industry. The agreement, called a memorandum of understanding that won’t be signed by either Obama or Netanyahu, will include money for Israel’s missile defense system.
Last year, before the U.S.’s historic nuclear non-proliferation deal with Iran, Netanyahu directly addressed Congress after former Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner invited him and tried to dissuade lawmakers from continued negotiations with Iran.