Israel, US Agree to 10-Year Defense Deal

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Israel and the United States have agreed to a ten-year defense deal, the largest and longest such agreement between the two nations.

The agreement will be signed Wednesday at the US Department of State, according to a government news release. No other details have been made public.

The agreement is the follow-on to a $30 billion, 10-year memorandum of understanding signed in 2007.

Defense News first reported over the summer that the latest US offer stands at $3.8 billion annually, which includes some $400 million to be spent in Israel on cooperative missile defense and other pre-agreed joint programs. As a condition of expanding Israel’s top line from $30 billion to $38 billion over the coming ten years, Washington is insisting on removing a 30-year-old privilege whereby Israel is able to convert a significant portion of grant dollars into shekels for local research, development and procurement.

Getting the deal done has been a legacy issue for the Obama administration, but tensions between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in part due to the US-Iran agreement reached in 2015, have created roadblocks.

Those issues exploded into the public in August, when the Israeli Ministry of Defense issued a statement comparing the Iran deal to the pre-World War II Munich agreement between Great Britain and Nazi Germany. The Ministry offered a semi-apology days later, but tensions remained.

Two questions are now up in the air. The first is the exact details of the ten-year agreement. The second is whether the agreement being reached will have any impact on Qatar and Kuwait being able to clear long-awaited fighter sales from the US.

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