Israel seeks 60 percent increase in US military aid: US officials

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Israeli troops prepare tanks near the border with the central Gaza Strip, on November 18, 2012. (Reuters photo)

Israel is seeking a large increase in annual military assistance from the United States and has held preliminary talks with the Obama administration on a 10-year financial package that would provide up to $50 billion, American congressional sources say.

During unofficial talks in recent weeks, Israel has asked the US to increase its annual military assistance by 60 percent to an average of $5 billion a year over the 2018-2028 period, the congressional aides said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

Under the existing agreement that was signed in 2007 and expires in 2017, annual military aid to Israel grew to about $3 billion a year. That deal was negotiated during the George W. Bush administration.

Israel says that it wants more money to counter threats that will arise as a result of the recent Iran nuclear agreement, which the Zionist regime has fireclay opposed.

US officials said that negotiations on the new aid package deal were still in the early stages and the proposal has not yet been formally presented to Congress, which must approve the funding.

"First they have to negotiate with the White House," one senior congressional aide said of the Israeli regime.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit Washington next week and hold talks with President Barack Obama on the aid package. Netanyahu and Obama are expected to reach an agreement on the aid deal’s broad outlines.

President Barack Obama (R) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel hold a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, Sept. 30, 2013.

Obama had reportedly agreed in principle with Netanyahu in a previous meeting to increase the aid package to between $4.2 billion and $4.5 billion.

The money is separate from the nearly $500 million in annual US funding for Israel’s missile system programs in recent years. It is also on top of the US warfighting material held in Israel, which is valued at $1.2 billion.

US annual aid to Israel has held steady despite cuts to a wide range of domestic and military programs in the United States, including reducing the size of the US Army to its lowest level since before World War Two.

The US government is pressured to serve Israel’s interests due to the influence of the powerful Zionist lobby in the United States. The pro-Israel pressure groups actively work to steer US foreign policy in favor of Israel.

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