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US, Israel getting closer to new military aid deal despite tensions

11-03-2016 16:48

Source: Press TV

 

The United States has signaled that it is moving toward a new military assistance deal with Israel, even as ties between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remain tense.

 

US Vice President Joe Biden, in Israel for a meeting with Netanyahu, said on Wednesday that Israel's military superiority in the Middle East should be preserved in terms of the quantity as well as the quality of its weaponry.

 

"We're committed to making sure that Israel can defend itself against all serious threats, maintain its qualitative edge with a quantity sufficient to maintain that," Biden told reporters after meeting Netanyahu.

 

Israel's "very, very tough neighborhood, a tough and changing neighborhood" necessitated such assistance, Biden said, adding that Obama had "done more to help bolster Israel's security than any other administration in history".

 

Washington and Tel Aviv are negotiating a new 10-year US military aid package to replace the $3 billion-a-year agreement that expires in 2018.

 

Israel last year requested $5 billion in future annual aid but its officials have since lowered their expectation to around $4.5 billion. However, US officials have given lower target figures of around $3.7 billion.

 

The dispute prompted Israeli officials to suggest last month that Netanyahu, in hope of better terms, may await Obama's successor to conclude the deal.

 

Israel’s Minister of Military Affairs Moshe Yaalon travels to Washington next week for talks with US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. Yaalon aides said he would try to make progress on a new aid package.

 

The US government is pressured to serve Israel’s interests due to the influence of the powerful Zionist lobby in the United States. The pro-Israel pressure groups actively work to steer US foreign policy in favor of Israel.


Topics : #Palestine #Middle East #USA #Israel #Arms Trade

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