An American official says the US administration is ready to incorporate missile funds in a decade-long agreement on military aid to Israel.
The US and Israel have been engaged in intense negotiations in recent months to outline America’s military aid to Israel for the next 10 years.
Washington has been providing the Israeli regime with $3.1 billion annually since a 2007 agreement with the former president George W. Bush’s administration.
Tel Aviv has indicated that it wants $4 billion to $4.5 billion in aid to fund its missile projects as part of a new agreement that will go into effect from 2018, but the US officials had offered a lower figure of about $3.7 billion.
“We are prepared to make an unprecedented multi-year missile defense commitment as part of a new memorandum of understanding with Israel on military assistance,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said on Wednesday.
“This commitment, which would amount to billions of dollars over 10 years, would be the first long-term pledge on missile defense support to Israel, affording Israel robust support for its missile defense, as well as predictability and facilitating long-term planning,” the official added.
US lawmakers have given up to $600 million to Israel in annual ‘discretionary funds’ for the regime’s missile program, which is much more than the $150 million requested by the White House.
On Tuesday, the US administration opposed a proposal to include $600 million for Israel to an appropriations bill for the fiscal year starting on October 1.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking to finalize the deal with Barack Obama before the end of his presidency, fearing that his successor would take a different position on the matter.
Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of US foreign assistance since World War II. America’s military assistance to Israel has amounted to $124.3 billion since it began in 1962, according to a recent congressional report.