US sweetening military aid deal for Israel

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)
The US is the biggest provider of military aid to Israel. (file photo)

The White House says it has offered to substantially increase America’s military aid to Israel following months of wrangling between Washington and Tel Aviv.

The White House told US Congress on Friday that America insists that the Israelis use the tens of billions of dollars they receive under the deal to buy US-made goods and services, rather than Israeli ones, according to the New York Times.

The US administration announced details of the deal after senators recently urged the White House to complete a new aid deal soon.

On Friday, US national security adviser Susan Rice and director of the Office of Management and Budget Shaun Donovan said the United States was ready to raise the military aid for Israel, worth nearly $30 billion, and sign a new one “that would constitute the largest pledge of military assistance to any country in US history.”

The new deal will make a 10-year pledge to fund Israeli missile systems, the report added.

It “would build on the unparalleled support that the United States has provided to Israel under President [Barack] Obama,” Rice and Donovan said.

“Through word and deed, this administration has done more for Israel’s security than any other in US history.”

The US and Israel have been engaged in intense negotiations in recent months to outline America's military aid to Israel for the next 10 years.

Washington has been providing the Israeli regime with $3.1 billion annually since a 2007 agreement with the former president George W. Bush's administration.

Tel Aviv has indicated that it wants $4 billion to $4.5 billion in aid to fund its missile projects as part of a new agreement that will go into effect from 2018, but the US officials had offered a lower figure of about $3.7 billion.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking to finalize the deal with Barack Obama before the end of his presidency, fearing that his successor would take a different position on the matter.

Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of US foreign assistance since World War II. America's military assistance to Israel has amounted to $124.3 billion since it began in 1962, according to a recent congressional report.

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