Israel to get $38 billion in US military aid over 10 years

Not only is the USA providing military aid, but this pact represents the largest pledge of US military aid in USA history.

The news comes after U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday approved a 10-year memorandum of understanding between Israel and the U.S. granting Tel Aviv a yearly US$3.8 billion in military aid, a US$700 million increase on the existing amount. Lindsey Graham rejects as insufficient and inappropriate.

President Obama is eager to put the aid in place before he leaves office in January, however.

"I believe that we can now say that Israel has reached childhood's end, that it has matured enough to begin approaching a state of self-reliance", Netanyahu said at the time.

The two may meet on the sidelines during next week's U.N. General Assembly in NY. Officials have not said if he will meet with Obama.

Obama said in a statement shortly after the ceremony that the MOU represents his own staunch commitment to Israeli security, adding that both he and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are confident the assistance will contribute to ensuring Israel remains secure in a "dangerous neighborhood". "This is the largest military aid package the U.S. has ever given out to any nation".

Reaction among US lawmakers was mixed, with some welcoming the agreement while others decried it as insufficient given the extent of threats facing Israel.

At one point Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu controversially indicated he might wait for the next USA president before striking a deal.

"Israel will not be held accountable [for] anything", Basel Ghattas, an Arab member of Israel's Knesset, or parliament, said recently in Washington.

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According to the State Department, it is the "biggest bilateral military aid in the history of the United States".

The new package for the first time will incorporate money for Israeli missile defense - setting the amount at $500 million a year - which until now has been funded ad hoc by Congress. U.S. lawmakers have in recent years given Israel up to $600 million in annual discretionary funds for this objective.

"The aid has important symbolic value". Instead, all the aid will have to be spent on USA defense contractors who will supply Israel.

"That was very clear language: Let's sit down and talk about what we can do for you, " said a diplomat familiar with the often-fraught relationship.

All of this is apparent to Prime Minister Netanyahu who wanted a larger package.

Acting Israeli National Security Advisor Jacob Nagel reportedly arrived in Washington earlier in the day to ink the accord with his American counterpart, Susan Rice.

The new deal will also phase out a special provision that allowed Israel to use about a quarter of the money to buy Israeli arms, an exception once meant to strengthen the small state's defense industry.

The United States has also reportedly sought to phase out Israel being allowed to spend part of the money with its own defense industry instead of from USA firms.

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