US Aims to Increase Military Aid to Israel, One of Top Ten Arms Exporters

The United States has offered to increase its military aid to Israel on the condition that Tel Aviv spends more of the aid on the purchase of American equipment and fuel rather than on its domestic products.

Israel and the US have been engaged in negotiations over a memorandum of understanding for an aid package to replace the current one that expires in 2018.

A letter by National Security Adviser Susan Rice and co-authored by the White House’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Shaun Donovan, outlines the US offer which includes a pledge to substantially increase the aid package, worth some $30 billion over 10 years. It further aims to secure a new deal that would constitute “the largest pledge of military assistance to any country in US history”.

The next 10-year deal could top $40 billion, and would include a 10-year pledge to fund Israel’s missile defense systems, the New York Times reported.

Under the existing agreement, Israel is permitted to spend about 25 percent of the aid it receives outside the US and another 13 per cent on fuel for its aircraft.

According to an Israeli newspaper, this arrangement originated in the 1980s to build up Israel’s defense industry, which has thrived. As a result, Israel has become one of the top 10 arms exporters in the world, and a US competitor.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported a senior US official as saying that this stipulation “no longer serves Israeli or US interests,” adding that “We would like to modify it.”

“It doesn’t make sense from a US perspective,” the source added. “We want more of the assistance to be spent in the US on US companies helping to support economic growth and jobs creation here at home.”

Palestine Chronicle