The United States is “likely” to significantly boost its already astronomical military aid to Israel, Reuters reported Thursday.
Citing an anonymous U.S. official, journalist Dan Williams wrote that, after the $3 billion annual military aid package expires in 2017, this amount could be raised to $3.6 to $3.7 a year. An unidentified Israeli official pegged this post-2017 amount between $3.5 billion and $4 billion.
Reuters framed the probable hike as a potential bid to assuage tensions between the two allies over nuclear negotiations with Iran. “They (the United States) are trying to douse the fires after our flare-up about the Iran deal,” the Isreali official told Reuters.
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However, the U.S. has maintained heavy military and political support for Israel long before the Iran talks were on the table. Since 1948, Israel has been the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid, and the vast majority of the at least $121 billion the U.S. has given has been in the form of military funding.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly confirmed that military backing could rise but vowed to continue his opposition to diplomacy unabated. White House National Security Council spokesman Alistair Baskey denied the reports altogether.
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Whatever the motive, a further spike in U.S. military aid to Israel would almost certainly be controversial. Human rights advocates have long opposed the role of the U.S. in arming, financing, and politically backing Israeli occupation, siege, colonization, and war crimes—from Lebanon to Palestine. The Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions urges an immediate end to such aid.