Friday, October 23, 2015

Washington Plans up to $1 Billion Hike in US Military Aid to Israel

Israeli and American teams are putting together a plan to increase annual U.S. military aid to Israel by as much as $1 billion, on top of the current $3.1 billion, a source close to the military aid process said Wednesday.

Talks on military aid started recently, and are now being discussed by the professional staffs of the two countries’ defense establishments. For now, Israeli defense officials are calling news of the large aid increase “rumors.”

Israel refused to hold talks on the military aid framework and the “compensation package” it will receive because of the Iranian nuclear agreement, until that agreement was approved.

A senior defense official said that because the Iranian nuclear agreement would require the arming of various Arab countries, particularly the Gulf states, “an answer for preserving [Israel’s] qualitative military edge was required — and everyone is aware of this.”

The Israeli decision to wait until the final approval of the Iranian nuclear agreement was not well received in the Obama administration, which saw the postponing of the talks as a waste of time in improving Israel’s defensive capabilities with the American aid.

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