US Defense Aid to Israel to Push Past $3.5 Billion, Sources Say
JNS.org – United States defense aid to Israel is likely to increase to more than $3.5 billion per year after 2017, sources say.
An anonymous U.S. defense official said negotiations that are underway would bring the annual military aid package to Israel to around $3.6-$3.7 billion, up from the current level of $3 billion, Reuters reported. An Israeli official said the aid package would likely be between $3.5 and $4 billion.
The U.S. and Israel signed a $30 billion, 10-year defense deal in 2007 under then-president George W. Bush that allowed for $3 billion in annual defense aid. A number of additional military aid packages, including funding of Israel’s highly effective Iron Dome missile defense system, have been added over the years.
“They (the United States) are trying to douse the fires after our flare-up about the Iran deal,” an anonymous U.S. defense official told Reuters.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied that the negotiations over a new 10-year military aid package would be “compensation” for an Iran deal whose terms Israel opposes.
Israel and several top Arab allies of America in the Middle East have been vocal about their opposition to the emerging nuclear deal between world powers and Iran. Recently, President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. would step up military assistance to several Arab Gulf states amid their fears over Iran. The U.S. has also reportedly proposed a $1.9 billion military sale to Israel that includes 750 bunker buster precision-guided bombs and 3,000 Hellfire missiles, among other items.