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Carter arrives in Israel over Tel Aviv purchase of F-35s

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter (C-L) observes an honor guard with the Israeli minister of military affairs, Avigdor Lieberman (C-R), in Tel Aviv, Israel, on December 12, 2016. (Photo via US Department of Defense)

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is visiting Israel to celebrate delivery of two F-35 fighter planes to the regime.

The pentagon chief was welcomed by the Israeli minister of military affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, as he arrived in Tel Aviv on Monday.

The regime is reportedly planning to buy 50 next-generation F-35s, which the Israeli military chief claimed would "present another component in maintaining air superiority in our region."

The jets' arrival from Italy in the afternoon was initially delayed due to bad weather condition.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (3rdR) looks at one of the first two F-35 stealth fighter jets purchased in the United States next to its pilot (2ndR), an Israeli officer, after he landed on December 12, 2016 at the Israeli Nevatim air force base in the Negev desert. (Photo by AFP)

US President-elect Donald Trump has criticized the F-35 manufacturing program over its high costs as well as long delays in development.

In a tweet on Monday, the future president vowed to change that when he takes control of the White House on January 20th, 2017.

"The F-35 program and cost is out of control. Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th," he said.

This file photo taken on July 12, 2016 shows the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II taking part in a flying display at the Farnborough Airshow, southwest of London.  (Photo by AFP)

The jet manufacturing company, Lockheed Martin, faced a sharp decline in its shares after the Twitter post.

The fighters are being procured as part of a military aid deal between the US and Israel. The estimated cost for each plane is around $110 million.

According to congressional reports released earlier in the year, Israel has been 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.

In September, Washington and Tel Aviv agreed on a new package of at least $38 billion in US military aid over a 10-year period.

A Dutch Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet takes off at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on November 24, 2015. (Photo by AFP)

The deal requires at least $3.8 billion in annual aid, up from $3.1 billion per year under the current pact, which expires in 2018. Israel had originally requested at least $4.5 billion a year.

The deal was clinched despite the Tel Aviv regime’s blatant violation of human rights in occupied Palestine as well as its ever growing expansionist policies.

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