U.S. officials: Israel wants up to $5 billion in annual military aid
Israel has secured hundreds of millions of dollars in additional U.S. funding for missile defense in recent years
Israel has made an initial request for its annual U.S. defense aid to increase to as much as $5 billion when its current aid package, worth an average $3 billion a year, expires in 2017, U.S. congressional sources said on Wednesday.
Israel wants $5 billion per year in military aid for 10 years, for a total of $50 billion, the congressional aides said. It has been signaling that it wants more money to counter threats it says will arise as a result of the international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, which Israel’s government has staunchly opposed.
Congressional and other U.S. officials cautioned that negotiations on the new aid deal were still in the early stages and the proposal is not yet at the stage where it has been formally brought to Congress, which must approve the funds.
“First they have to negotiate with the White House,” one senior congressional aide said of Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to visit Washington for talks with President Barack Obama next week, when the package is likely to be discussed and its broad outlines may be agreed.
Israeli government spokesmen declined to provide details on the defense aid talks.
One U.S. official said the Obama administration was unlikely to fully meet the Israeli request, and predicted the sides would settle for an annual sum of between $4 billion and $5 billion.
Israel has also secured hundreds of millions of dollars in additional U.S. funding for missile defense in recent years.
Netanyahu put the brakes on aid talks with Washington in the run-up to the Iran deal that was reached in July, signaling his displeasure with the negotiations. Before he did so, Israeli and U.S. officials said they were looking at a new aid package worth $3.6 billion to $3.7 billion annually.
Both sides have said that figure could rise after the Iran deal, which will place curbs on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for an easing of sanctions against Tehran.
Israel argues that Tehran’s financial windfall from sanctions relief will allow it to increase backing for proxies that are hostile to Israel in Syria, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories and elsewhere - a fear Washington says is exaggerated.
Palestinians say videos back claims of Israeli abuseIsrael’s army and police defended the actions shown in the videos, with the exception of an officer who was suspended Middle East
Israel keeps its own counsel on Assad as big powers wade into SyriaTo avoid accidentally trading fire, Israel has agreed with Russia to coordinate military action over Syria Middle East
Israel minister wants stray cats and dogs outHe wrote to Environment Minister Avi Gabai proposing that the budget allocated to castration be used 'to deport them' Variety
Palestinian killed after ‘attack on Israeli soldier’The attempted attack took place on the Palestinian side of a crossing between Israel and the occupied West Bank Middle East
What if Israel's assassinated Prime Minister Rabin had lived?Would Israelis and Palestinians now be living in peace with one another if a Jewish extremist had not assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin 20 years ago? Features
New Zealand’s Israel / Palestine initiative disappointsDays after New Zealand began its two-year stint as a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council in January this year, the country’s ... Middle East
No war, no peace: The Jordan-Israel peace deal is not a dealOctober 26 marked the 21st anniversary of the Jordanian-Israeli peace deal. From a wider strategic perspective, the 1994 U.S.-sponsored Wadi Araba ... Middle East
Israel legalises hundreds of west bank settler homesThe international community regards all Jewish settlements in the West Bank as illegal Middle East
Palestinian killed in West Bank after stabbing attemptIsrael’s military rejected any link between its use of tear gas during West Bank clashes and the death of an eight-month-old boy Middle East
Israel’s defensive democracy is no democracyWhen I was a political science major, back in the 1980s, together with many of my peers we complained about the constant erosion of democratic values ... Middle East
U.N. seeks to revive Israeli-Palestinian talksA draft resolution has been circulated calling for a freeze on Jewish settlements and halting moves to prosecute Israel at the International Criminal Court Middle East