Originally published at MintPress News.
WASHINGTON — Israel receives billions of dollars in military aid from the United States each year, and it may start receiving even more next year, according to widely quoted statements from the nation’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Apartheid Israel currently receives $3.1 billion in aid annually which, together with Egypt, accounts for 75 percent of all U.S. foreign military aid. Israel also receives additional U.S. funds for other projects, including its Iron Dome missile defense system.
Speaking from the World Economic Forum in Davos last month, Netanyahu insisted that Israel will need even more funding over the next 10 years to maintain its military edge in the wake of the nuclear deal with Iran.Agence France-Presse reported on Jan. 21:
Netanyahu said it would be important to “resist Iranian aggression in the region, which continues and might even accelerate given the amount of funds that they’re going to get with the lifting of sanctions.”
“And the strongest way to stop Iranian aggression is to bolster America’s allies, first and foremost (of) which is Israel,” he said.
Although Iran is conforming to the terms of the deal ahead of schedule, and leaked documents show that even Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, believes that Iran poses little threat to world peace, Netanyahu continues to insist that Iran poses a real, existential threat to Israel.
Following the implementation of the deal, Iran will receive $1.7 billion in foreign aid from the U.S., and the U.S. has already lifted sanctions that freed up $100 billion in Iranian assets held abroad. But AFP also noted that Iran’s resources pale in comparison to Israel’s annual military budget, which “amounts to some $16 billion, excluding the U.S. aid,” and that Israel remains the “sole nuclear power in the Middle East.”
Opposition to peace talks with Iran, including his controversial speech to Congress in 2015, was reportedly a major source of tension between Israel and the Obama administration. The proposed deal seems to signal a warming of relations.
“Netanyahu said support for the military aid package is ‘a sign of how strong the American Israeli alliance is,’” according to a Jan. 21 report from USA Today. The newspaper also quoted the prime minister as saying
We have our disagreements. We always do. … This partnership is rock solid and will remain so.
Secretary of State John Kerry, who was also meeting with world leaders and the global 1% in Davos, concurred with those sentiments, according to a Jan. 22 report from CNN:
On Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry had said that ‘the fight’s over’ between the Obama administration and the Israeli government now that the Iran deal is complete.
Kerry met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, days after the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, lifting of U.S. sanctions on Tehran, commenced.
Despite warming relations between Washington and Netanyahu, an increasing number of Americans are wary of Israel’s influence in American politics. According to a December poll from The Brookings Institution, 37 percent of Americans believe Israel wields too much power over Congress and the White House.
And while Netanyahu encouraged strengthening U.S. allies in the Middle East against “Iranian aggression,” more aid seems poised to increase Israeli aggression in the region. In addition to using U.S. military aid to maintain its deadly blockade against Occupied Palestine, Israel has become increasingly aggressive with its neighbors in recent months as it seeks to solidify control over the oil resources in the contested Golan Heights territory.