Biden announces Israel visit to discuss new military deal

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)
US Vice President Joe Biden in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, February 23, 2016. (AFP photo)

US Vice President Joe Biden will be meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv next week to discuss a new military deal.

Biden’s office announced the two-day trip on Wednesday, adding that he is also slated to meet Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Moreover, the VP would pay a visit to the city of al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the West Bank city of Ramallah in the occupied lands, as part of a broader Middle East tour that includes stops in the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.

On the top of Biden’s agenda is a new US-Israel deal that will replace the current military aid deal that is set to expire in 2018.

Despite Israel’s procurement of $6.2 billion in total annual aid from the US, the Tel Aviv regime is now seeking a new 10-year agreement worth $5 billion in annual military aid with Washington.

This is a significant increase from the $3.1 billion it has received yearly since a 2007 agreement with the George W. Bush administration.

US military assistance to Israel has amounted to $124.3 billion since it began in 1962, according to a recent congressional report.

Biden is also expected to discuss a months-long dispute over the Iran nuclear deal, as part of which the US began the process of lifting sanctions on Tehran.

President Barack Obama’s administration has tried to allay Israeli concerns about the deal, which put limits on Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for removal of all nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Obama has long butted heads with Netanyahu over a litany of issues, such as expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian lands, a move Washington firmly opposes.

During Biden’s last visit to Israel in 2010, Netanyahu announced new settlement construction in the West Bank. The American VP said at the time that the move threatened to undermine the peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

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