The original agreement negotiated by Prime Minister Netanyahu and former US president Barack Obama provides Israel with $38 billion through 2028.

By Michael Wilner, JPOST

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration will support Congress’s effort to provide Israel with more aid than was guaranteed in a formal defense package negotiated by former US president Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last yearThe Jerusalem Post has learned.

That agreement – a memorandum of understanding meant to govern US defense assistance to Israel through the coming decade – provides Israel with $38 billion through 2028. During the 2016 negotiations, Israel’s leadership signed a side letter promising to return any aid appropriated by Congress exceeding the $3.1 billion set aside for this fiscal year. But Congress ignored that provision, cutting Israel an additional $75 million in aid in its latest appropriations bill.

A report in the right-leaning Washington Free Beacon published over the weekend claimed that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wanted Israel to return the check, as promised in its letter to the Obama team. But a senior State Department official said that report was incorrect.

“The administration is committed to ensuring that Israel receives the assistance that has been appropriated by Congress,” the official said, confirming that Trump will work to ensure the $75 million in additional aid is delivered.

In September of last year, shortly before the MOU was originally signed in a public ceremony in Washington, the Israeli government sent a letter to the White House promising it would “return any check” that amounted to more than what was agreed.

Then-acting national security adviser Yaakov Nagel, who negotiated the deal on Israel’s behalf, said that the principle behind this letter was clear: The MOU should be inviolable, not to be increased or decreased in any given year due to timely or exigent circumstances.

If the framework were broken and increased one year, the concern in Jerusalem was that perhaps in the future it would be broken and decreased. A US official said the purpose of the side agreement was to ensure the integrity of the defense package in the long term.

September 12, 2017 | 2 Comments » | 310 views

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2 Comments / 2 Comments

  1. Here I’m becoming a slightly Byzantine…Whereas I am normally– to an extent- dubiois of the pronouncements of politicians,and even more so when it relates to the Middle East.

    I was in favour of returning the money without fanfare, because it would come out later anyway that Israel did not demur at returning the money and we’d get extra kudos for it. Also. because it was such a negligible amount for either country, I suspected there was something else behind it, as America wants to bind Israel to it tightly. Indeed where else, for 3, say 4 Billion dollars a year could they get the very best Research &
    Department Department stretching over a whole country, using the best brains in the world, and would cost, (probably does) 5-10 times that amount in the United States, even without Israel’s unique properties..

    All the information coming from Washington over the past several months, have blared that an internal coup is going on, and that the President is having the most important information, especially vis a vis. Israel, kept from him. What better way to show that this is false , than to use the $75 mill, being personally affirmed by Trump, to show that he sees and hears everything. The cost is cheap. NO fight, and shows that the story of a blanket coup is false.

    This is my Byzantine attribute in action. Of course it may be true, and if not then it is not true. Q.E.D.

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