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US, Israel restart military aid discussions

The talks had been suspended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in protest of the nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries, Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany, on July 14.
Before Netanyahu suspended the military negotiations, the two sides were about to agree on a new package of grants worth $3.6 billion to $3.7 billion a year, according to US and Israeli officials.
Israeli Ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer said on Sunday that the “discussions over a new Memorandum of Understanding between Israel and the United States, which had been on hold for some time, resumed this past week in Washington.”
“Israel hopes that the discussions we are now engaged in will culminate in a long-term agreement that will dramatically upgrade Israel’s ability to defend itself by itself against any threat and enable Israel to address the enormous challenges we now face in the region,” Dermer said.
The current agreement between Israel and the US went into effect in 2009 and will expire in 2017.
Tel Aviv spends most of the aid it receives from the US to buy American military hardware, such as jets and components for missile systems.
The new talks come as the US chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps General Joseph F. Dunford Jr, arrived in Israel on Saturday.
Dunford is scheduled to meet Israeli military commander Gadi Eisenkot and discuss a range of issues, including the US aid package, the Iranian nuclear conclusion and Russia’s involvement in Syria in the battle against Daesh.
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