Israel reportedly OKs U.S.-Saudi arms deal


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel has privately signed off on a proposed arms deal between the United States and Saudi Arabia, a Washington columnist reported.

At $60 billion, the deal is the most expensive arms deal ever. It will be spread out over five to 10 years.

Syndicated columnist Douglas Bloomfield reported Tuesday that Israel has privately blessed the sale, citing U.S. congressional, Israeli and lobby sources.

The deal includes 84 new F-15 fighter planes, and nearly 200 Apache, Black Hawk and Little Bird helicopters, as well as upgrades for 70 other fighter planes.

Israeli defense firms could make tens of millions of dollars on the Saudi arms sale by manufacturing certain key components of the Saudi F-15s, Bloomfield reported. 

The Obama administration also reportedly has maintained Israel’s qualitative edge in setting up the deal, he wrote.

Talks between the United States and Saudi Arabia over the arms sale have been ongoing for months, according to reports. The Saudis could decide to go for the entire $60 billion deal or just parts of it, though the F-15s are considered a top priority, according to The Washington Post. 

The president is required to give Congress 30 days notice before making a formal offer to sell the arms to another country. The formal notification has not yet reached the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Post reported.

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