Trump administration welcomes launch of Israel defense pact signed under Obama


(JTA) — The Trump Administration welcomed the “the bi-partisan nature” of U.S. support for Israel, as a 10-year defense agreement signed in 2016 under President Barack Obama kicked in.

The $38 billion Memorandum of Understanding went into operation on Monday, the first day of the new fiscal year.

Under the MOU, the United States will set funding for Israel at levels of $3.3 billion in Foreign Military Financing and $500 million for cooperative programs for missile defense over each of the next 10 years, the State Department said in a statement.

The agreement marks “a significant increase enabling Israel to acquire additional advanced military capabilities from the United States that will, over time, enhance Israel’s security and strengthen our bilateral relationship,” said the statement issued on Monday.

“Our implementation of this historic MOU reflects the enduring and unshakable commitment of the President, this Administration, and the American people to Israel’s security. The MOU was negotiated under the previous Administration, reflecting the bi-partisan nature of this commitment,” it said.

According to the statement, 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.”

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,” it said.

“I thank the American administration and Congress for their commitment to Israel and also for the American financial assistance in the coming decade,” Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement issued 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.”


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