US President Barack Obama walks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he views an Iron Dome Defense Battery at Ben-Gurion International Airport, March 20, 2013..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel is in early discussions with the US about a new 10-year defense assistance program, but this is not “compensation” for the possible signing of a possible nuclear deal with Iran, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday.
Netanyahu, during a briefing with Israel’s diplomatic correspondents, did not say how much Israel was requesting. With the current 10-year, $30 billion US defense assistance agreement set to expire in 2017, the two sides are negotiating the terms of a 10-year deal that according to a recent report in Defense News could be worth up to $45b.
The prime minister said this package is not a “quid pro quo” for the Iranian nuclear deal, which he said Israel continues to adamantly oppose.
The previous defense assistance memorandum of understanding was signed in August 2007 with the Bush administration, and outlined a 10-year framework of military assistance that called for incremental yearly increases that reached $3.1b. this year. Of that money, 74¢ of every dollar is spent in the US.
According to the Defense News report, this does not include US war stocks prepositioned in Israel and available for Israel’s emergency use, and nearly $500m. annually in money for joint research and development of rocket defense systems, like Iron Dome.
US President Barack Obama has not only honored that agreement, but – as Netanyahu pointed out – said during his visit to Israel in March that the US would continue to provide Israel with multi-year commitments of military aid subject to the approval of Congress.
One of the chief architects of the previous framework was Ron Dermer, Israel’s current ambassador to Washington, who at the time was Israel’s economic attaché to Washington.
He said then that “the most important part of the agreement is the message that it sends to Israel’s enemies that America remains fully committed to Israel’s security.”
According to Defense News, this package would be independent of increased military aid the US might offer Israel if a deal with Iran is signed.