Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Tel Aviv needs more US military aid following the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries.
He told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday that Washington and Tel Aviv are finalizing details of a 10-year military aid package that will be larger than the $3.1 billion US package Israel received this year.
Speaking to CNN journalist Fareed Zakaria in Davos, Netanyahu hailed the billions of dollars the administration of US President Barack Obama has provided to Israel.
He added that US military aid to Israel is even more important following the Iran nuclear deal, under which Tehran will receive tens of billions of dollars.
Netanyahu was referring to Iranian assets in many international banks that were frozen after illegal sanctions were imposed against the country in 2011 and 2012 based on unfounded accusations that Iran was seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
Iran’s frozen assets were probably about $100 billion or more, but according to US Secretary of State John Kerry, Tehran would receive about $55 billion, because large chunks of these funds are obligated to satisfy foreign debt.
Israel seeks 60% increase
According to reports, Israeli officials have 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.
Under the existing agreement that was signed in 2007 and expires in 2017, annual military aid to Israel grew to more than $3 billion a year. That deal was negotiated during the George W. Bush administration.
Netanyahu says that Israel wants more money to counter threats that will arise as a result of the Iran nuclear agreement, which the Zionist regime has fiercely opposed.
US President Barack Obama had reportedly agreed in principle with Netanyahu in one 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 military assistance to Israel has amounted to $124.3 billion since it began in 1962, according to a recent congressional report.
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 Israeli lobby in the United States. The pro-Israel pressure groups actively work to steer US foreign policy in favor of Israel.