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US pledges record $38 billion military aid to Israel

The US and Israel have agreed a new ten-year military aid deal [Getty]

Date of publication: 13 September, 2016

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The US is set to rubber-stamp the biggest pledge of military assistance ever made to any country with a $38 billion arms package to Israel.

Israel is set to benefit from a record $38 billion US military aid package over the next decade.

It will be the US' biggest pledge of military assistance ever made to any country, and comes despite continued criticism of Israel's continued use of excessive violences against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

The new deal includes a $700 million-a-year increase on existing US aid to Israel, and funding for missiles.

Aid increase

Reuters reported that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu originally sought upwards of $4.5 billion a year.

He was said to be keen to secure a deal with President Barack Obama before he leaves office in January, rather than hoping for better terms with the US administration, officicials from both sides told the agency.

The deal, known as a memorandum of understanding, allows at least $3.8 billion a year in aid, up from $3.1 billion annually under the current pact which expires in 2018.

Missile defence funding has been included in the package for the first time, which had until now been financed ad hoc.

Netanyahu has conceded not to lobby Congress for more money.

But the wording is likely to be flexible enough to allow exceptions in case of a war or other major crisis, Reuters reports.

Israel must also reduce how much of the aid money it spends on its own military industries to 26.3 percent.

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The provision originated in the 1980s to help Israel build up its defence trade, and helped make it a major global player.

Netanyahu also agreed to end Israel’s use of 13 percent of the US money on military fuel purchases, officials said.

The new agreement is expected to be signed as early as next week.

Violence

It comes after Israel recently launched fresh air raids on the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian militants have fired missiles into Israeli territories, but Israel has been accused of using excessive force in response to these attacks and in 2014 killed over 2,200 people - the vast majority civilians - in bombing raids and ground offensives.

Last week, Israeli troops opened fire on a group of youngsters after Friday prayers, killing a teenager.

In June, Israeli troops killed a Palestinian teenager who had been returning from a swimming pool with his friends, claiming they had mistaken the group for stone-throwers.

Violence between Palestinians and Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem has killed 223 Palestinians, 34 Israelis, two Americans, one Eritrean and a Sudanese.

Israel has faced allegations of shooting dead Palestinian attackers after they appeared to be subdued and posed no further threat.

Israeli forces say most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks.

Others were shot dead during protests and clashes, while some were killed in Israeli air raids on the Gaza Strip.

 

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