Israeli PM hails US military aid deal

Israeli PM hails US military aid deal

Jerusalem, Sep 15 (IANS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday evening hailed a United State military aid package to his country as a “historic deal”.

“This agreement will ensure an unprecedented security assistance to Israel over the next decade,” Netanyahu said in a Hebrew video address about an hour before the scheduled signing ceremony in Washington.

The agreement is expected to give Israel as much as $3.8 billion a year over 10 years.

That represents a significant increase over the $3.1 billion the US gives annually now, a figure that rises to about $3.5 billion a year with aid supplements approved by Congress.

“This is the largest ever military assistance package in US history,” Netanyahu said.

He said the deal is expected to help Israel build its military power, focusing on anti-missile defence abilities.

The prime minister thanked President Barack Obama, an ally with whom he had skirmish relations over the past years over the nuclear deal with Iran.

On Tuesday, the US State Department and Israel announced that they have concluded a new 10-year Memorandum of Understanding on security assistance for fiscal years 2019 through 2028.

The new MOU is expected to be signed in a ceremony Wednesday in Washington. Jacob Nagel, Israel’s acting national security adviser, arrived in Washington Tuesday to sign on behalf of his country.

Negotiations for the aid package have been underway since November to replace the current MOU that will end in 2018.

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