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Netanyahu likely to accept US conditions regarding military aid package

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is likely to give up a large portion of Israel's demands regarding the US military aid package, Haaretz reported on Monday.

The Israeli newspaper said it had learnt that Netanyahu "is leaning toward giving in on a good many of his demands and accepting most of the American terms, including a gradual phasing out of Israel's spending of one-fourth of the American aid on purchases from Israeli defence contractors."

According to the newspaper, Israel's National Security Adviser Jacob Nagel will travel to Washington on Sunday to meet with his American counterpart, Susan Rice, and workout the final details of the deal.

"Israel has no interest in changing the amount of annual aid for the coming year, as per the existing agreement, without the consent of the American and Israeli governments," a statement by Netanyahu's office said.

"For the 2017 budgetary year, which is not covered in the new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), Israel remains committed to the amount laid out in the present MoU, which stands at $3.1 billion, and is not requesting additional aid."

Haaretz reported that "according to the agreement Israel and the United States signed in 2007, which will expire in 2018, Israel receives military aid of about $3 billion a year on average. Israel can spend 26 per cent of this sum, or about $800 million a year, on purchases in shekels from Israeli defence industries."

"Moreover, according to senior US officials, Israel spent about 13 per cent of the annual American aid over the past few years, or about $400 million, to purchase fuel for the Israel Defence Forces, particularly airplane fuel.

"Israel is the only country in the world that is permitted to use American aid for these two needs."

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