Israel Sending Official to U.S. to Seal Defense Aid Deal

Israeli Merkava tanks roll near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip as they return from the Hamas-controlled Palestinian coastal enclave on August 5, 2014, after Israel announced that all of its troops had withdrawn from Gaza.

The Times of Israel reports: Israel will send a representative to Washington next week to finalize a defense aid deal for the next decade but will not seek an increase for 2017, an Israeli official said on Monday.

Brig. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Nagel, acting head of the National Security Council, will head to Washington next Sunday for meetings with his US counterparts “for the purpose of signing a new MOU [memorandum of understanding] between the two countries as soon as possible,” according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

An Israeli official stressed that Jerusalem was not seeking additional military funding for 2017 — which comes under the provisions of the last ten-year package — as had been suggested by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina).

“Israel is sending the message that it is committed to the agreements that have already been signed,” the official said. “2017 is part of the current MOU.”

In a statement, the Prime Minister’s Office added that Israel “places great value on the predictability and reliability of the military assistance it receives from the United States and on honoring bilateral agreements.

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