Newspaper article International New York Times

U.S. Offers $38 Billion in Military Aid to Israel ; Accord Would Represent a Security Commitment despite Fractious Relations

Newspaper article International New York Times

U.S. Offers $38 Billion in Military Aid to Israel ; Accord Would Represent a Security Commitment despite Fractious Relations

Article excerpt

The accord, which was to be signed Wednesday, represents a major American commitment to Israel's security after years of fractious relations.

The United States has finalized a $38 billion package of military aid for Israel over the next 10 years, the largest of its kind ever, and the two allies planned to sign the agreement on Wednesday, American and Israeli officials said.

The American State Department scheduled the ceremony to formally announce the pact, which was to be signed by Jacob Nagel, the acting national security adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, and Thomas A. Shannon Jr., the under secretary of state for political affairs. Susan E. Rice, President Obama's national security adviser who handled negotiations, planned to be on hand.

The package represents a major commitment to Israel's security in the waning months of Mr. Obama's presidency after years of fractious relations with Mr. Netanyahu over issues like the Iran nuclear agreement. Mr. Netanyahu agreed to several concessions to cement the deal rather than gamble on winning better terms from the next president.

The package will provide an average of $3.8 billion a year over the next decade to Israel, already the largest recipient of American aid, including financing for missile defense systems that defend against rockets fired by groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. Under a previous 10-year agreement that expires in 2018, the United States provides about $3 billion a year, but lately Congress has added up to $500 million a year for missile defense.

"The United States has invested significantly in many of Israel's most effective defenses against terrorist threats," Daniel B. Shapiro, the American ambassador to Israel, said in a speech this week. He cited the Iron Dome antimissile system and the delivery by the end of this year of the first F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Looking ahead to the next decade, Mr. Netanyahu initially sought as much as $45 billion, but Mr. Obama refused to go that high. …

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