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US Marks New Military Aid Package for Israel with Iranian Foe in Mind

October 2, 2018 News

PM Netanyahu and US President Trump. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Avi Ohayon (GPO)

The United States’ ten-year, $38 billion military financing package for Israel officially started yesterday, and the Americans weren’t coy about one of their main concerns for Israel: threats from Iran. “Israel is a valuable and capable ally to the United States that today faces dangerously escalating regional threats, first and foremost from the Iranian regime’s sponsorship of terrorist groups seeking to attack not only Israel but also American interests,” said a statement from US spokesperson Heather Nauert in a State Department press release.

The Israelis also had Iran on the mind when thanking the US for the sizable Memorandum of Understating (MOU) agreement, which was signed in 2016. “Israel and the world face complex security challenges, especially Iranian aggression,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in comments released by his office on Tuesday. “The unreserved US support for Israel’s right to defend itself is among the pillars of the strong bond between the two countries.”

Today, Israel is surrounded by threats. Iran is building out their military capabilities in neighboring Syria and has already attacked Israel directly. The Hezbollah terror group has stockpiled thousands of missiles for a future war with Israel, while Hamas in Gaza has been in an off-and-on conflict with Israel for more than a decade. The Americans recognized that the Jewish State faces more than just Iran, which along with Syria has sought nuclear weapons in the past.

“Israel is also threatened by the reckless proliferation of destabilizing weapons systems into the region that increase the possibility of an escalated conflict in an already dangerous and volatile theater,” said the statement from Nauert.

“The United States unconditionally affirms Israel’s right to self-defense, and this MOU is a concrete demonstration of our commitment to Israel’s capacity to defend itself with a qualitative military edge over all potential regional adversaries.”

The deal provides Israel with $3.3 billion in annual Foreign Military Financing and $500 million per year for missile defense cooperative programs.

Israel and the US have long been jointly developing advanced missile defense programs, and American aid has helped Israel launch the Iron Dome system.

Nauert noted that while the agreement “reflects the enduring and unshakable commitment” of the Trump Administration to Israel’s security, it was negotiated during the Obama Administration, “reflecting the bi-partisan nature of this commitment.”

The Israelis were grateful for the funding aid, but Netanyahu acknowledged first something more important: US support for Israel. Said the Israeli leader, “I thank the American administration and Congress for their commitment to Israel and also for the American financial assistance in the coming decade.”

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, October 2, 2018)

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