Obama’s 10-year aid package comes with a catch

As officials urge Netanyahu to accept military aid offer, new details show major shortcoming in the deal.

Shoshana Miskin ,

Netanyahu and Obama in the White House
Netanyahu and Obama in the White House

As Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is being urged to accept US President Barack Obama’s 10-year military aid package, new details of the plan are being revealed - showing it comes with a catch.

If Netanyahu accepts the deal, Israel will have to forgo annual plus-ups to the president’s budget from Congress, except for in extreme emergency cases.

“The benefit is we won’t need to haggle every year, first with the administration and then with Congress. We’ll have a pretty much guaranteed top-line that will help us enormously in long-term planning,” said a former senior Israeli security official.

“The downside, of course, is we’ll lose the ability for annual plus-ups on missile defense, anti-tunnel capabilities and other programs funded by the Pentagon in all but the most-extreme cases,” he added.

Congressional plus-ups for Israeli aid have surpassed Obama’s budget request in recent years by over 100%. US sources revealed that Israeli plus-ups surpassed budget requests by nearly $2 billion in the current agreement established in 2009.

“Without getting into numbers, I can assure you it will be the largest single pledge of military assistance to any country in US history. The president has pledged to support Israel’s security needs and it’s in our interest that we do so,” said a US official.

Netanyahu is expected to be in the US in March for the annual policy conference of the AIPAC pro-Israel lobby from.

A total of $3 billion in defense aid is given annually, but with those agreements expiring in 2018, Netanyahu has asked for an increase to $5 billion annually, in light of the greater need for security due to the growing Iranian threat after the nuclear deal. It would appear the increased aid request is a sort of condition being placed by Netanyahu for having largely ended his open opposition to the deal.

Obama's offer would give Israel around $3.7 billion annually.