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US to increase military aid to Israel if it spends more on American equipment

Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles.
US military armoured vehicles [File photo]

The United States has offered to increase its military aid to Israel on the condition that Tel Aviv spends more of the aid on the purchase of American equipment and fuel rather than on its domestic products.

Israel and the US have been engaged in negotiations over a memorandum of understanding for an aid package to replace the current one that expires in 2018.

The US offer outlined in a letter by National Security Adviser Susan Rice and co-authored by the White House’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget Shaun Donovan includes a pledge to substantially increase the aid package, worth some $30 billion over 10 years, and ink a new deal that would constitute “the largest pledge of military assistance to any country in US history”.

The next 10-year deal could top $40 billion, and would include a 10-year pledge to fund Israel’s missile defence systems, the New York Times reported.

Under the existing agreement, Israel is permitted to spend about 25 per cent of the aid it receives outside the US and another 13 per cent on fuel for its aircraft.

According to paper, the arrangement originated in the 1980s to build up Israel’s defence industry, which has thrived, helping Israel to become one of the top 10 arms exporters in the world and US competitor.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported a senior US official as saying that this stipulation “no longer serves Israeli or US interests. We would like to modify it.”

“It doesn’t make sense from a US perspective,” the source added. “We want more of the assistance to be spent in the US on US companies helping to support economic growth and jobs creation here at home.”

 

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