The U.S. government and Israel are expected to sign an agreement pledging U.S. military aid for the country that adds up to $38-billion over ten years.
Official signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, or MOU, is scheduled for Wednesday morning and comes after months of negotiations. It will be the largest sum of military assistance the U.S. has ever pledged to another country. The MOU’s amount of aid is an increase from the previous 10-year agreement, moving from $3.1-billion per year to $3.3-billion, beginning in 2018.
Details of the MOU include phasing out the ability to spend a portion of the package on Israeli military products. It will eventually require all MOU funds to contribute to American military industries. As reported in the Washington Post, the Israeli government has also agreed in a letter to give back any additional funds that Congress may appropriate. This would keep Congress from giving more money than President Obama intends in the deal. The MOU must still get formal congressional approval each year
Negotiations for the agreement were carefully timed by Israeli leadership, which was debating whether or not to strike the deal with Obama so close to the election. Ties between Obama and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been strained for years, and worsened because of the U.S.’s involvement in a nuclear deal with Iran. Pro-Palestinian groups have disagreed with the deal, arguing that Israel should not be rewarded by the U.S. because of its settlement building in the West Bank.
With files from the Associated Press
Ilan Goldenberg, Senior Fellow and Director of the Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security - a national security and defense policy think tank whose funders include Boeing and Northrup Grumman
Yousef Munayyer, Executive Director of U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a nation-wide coalition advocating Palestinian rights