The 2020 budget proposal that the White House sent to Congress includes the full $3.3 billion aid in the MOU signed by President Obama.
Israel can rest easy: The spending cuts axe being wielded by US President Donald Trump has so far spared military aid to Israel. Israel is due to receive $3.3 billion under the 2020 budget proposal that the White House sent to Congress yesterday.
The aid to Israel is set out in a memorandum of understanding signed by President Obama in his last year in office.
The relevant clause in the section “Department of State and Other International Programs” of the budget document states: “The Budget fully supports the U.S.-Israel Memorandum of Understanding and includes $3.3 billion in Foreign Military Financing grant assistance to bolster Israel’s capacity to defend itself against threats in the region and maintain its qualitative military edge.”
The clause goes on to state: “The Budget also fully supports the U.S.-Jordan Memorandum of Understanding and the U.S. diplomatic and security partnership with Egypt. The Budget includes a Diplomatic Progress Fund, which would allow the United States to incentivize and take advantage of diplomatic openings and opportunities to advance the Nation’s foreign policy priorities as they arise. This Fund provides flexibility to respond to improved engagement from governments for which the Budget has not proposed specific bilateral funding, such as non-security assistance for the West Bank and Gaza, should diplomatic progress be achieved in support of U.S. objectives and regional peace.”
Under Department of Defense, the document states: “The Budget also sustains efforts to deter and counter rogue regimes such as North Korea and Iran…” but does not provide detail.
The aid package to Israel includes aid for Israel’s rocket and missile defense program. In previous years, this aid was granted separately, subject to approval by Congress. Congress tended to raise the originally proposed amount substantially following intense lobbying by the Israeli government and Israeli defense companies. The current memorandum stresses that aid for the rocket and missiles program will be part of general military aid to Israel and that Israel may not ask Congress to increase it.
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on March 12, 2019
US President Donald Trump’s State Department has called the Golan Heights “Israeli-controlled territory” in its annual human rights report for 2018, which was released this week. All previous administrations refused to recognize Israeli sovereignty on the Golan, and consistently referred to the area as “occupied territory.”
In addition, the report does not refer to the “West Bank” and Gaza Strip as “occupied” or “under occupation,” language used by all US administrations in reference to Judea and Samaria and all the territories, including Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.
Israel officially annexed the Golan Heights in 1981, though the international community has yet to recognize Israeli sovereignty in the area. Much of the Golan is populated by Druze communities who have proved to be model citizens of the Jewish nation and serve diligently to protect their adopted homeland while serving in the IDF.
Ongoing clashes just over the border in war-torn Syria and the military build-up of Iranian forces there have made it obvious to observers taht Israel can never leave the Golan Heights.
Just this week, leading Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham visited the Golan with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman to discuss plans toward official US recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the plateau as a crucial, strategic and permanent part of the Jewish state. “Working with Sen. Ted Cruz, I will start an effort to recognize the Golan as part of the State of Israel now and forever,” Graham said during the visit. “Israel occupied this territory by fighting for its survival. This territory was taken by military force because it was used as a launching point to attack the State of Israel. This territory has a rich Jewish history,” Graham declared.