Senator says Israel made a mistake by signing security deal

The Republican senator who oversees the USA foreign aid budget says Israel made a mistake by signing a $38 billion security agreement with the Obama administration.

The aide, attorney David Friedman, presented the Obama aide package as "a first step, with much more that still needs to be done".

Graham said there is ample support in Congress among Republicans and Democrats for providing Israel with more military aid.

In one of the strongest statements he has made on the issue to date, Mr Ban said on Thursday that Israel's "stifling and oppressive" occupation of Palestinian territory "must end". The comments by Friedman suggest that Trump would plan to wipe out that limitation, freeing up Congress and future administrations to throw whatever extra monies they want at Israel.

Graham's main objection is a letter he says Israeli officials signed promising to give back any money that Congress appropriates above the amount negotiated in the deal. National Security Advisor Susan Rice, at the signing ceremony, hailed the largest single pledge of assistance in United States history to any country, a sign of the two countries' "ironclad bond".

"The idea that the MOU is binding on us, I'm going to fight violently", Graham said.

The ten-year US-Israel defense agreement consists of $33 billion in foreign military financing and $5 billion in missile defense. The deal was also billed as allowing Israel to update the lion's share of its fighter aircraft, strengthen missile defense systems like Iron Dome and purchase more copies of America's next-generation fighter jet, the F-35.

The U.S. and Israel signed the agreement Wednesday after months of negotiations conducted amid the tension between the two nations created by the nuclear deal with Iran.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could have gotten a better deal if he had waited until President Barack Obama left office.

Barak's latest criticism on Israel's prime minister came during an interview for Army Radio on Thursday, in which Barak quantified for the first time claims he made recently - including in an op-ed published Wednesday in the Washington Post - about the signing that day of a memorandum of understanding for $38 billion of U.S. defense assistance to Israel over the coming 10 years.

  • Anthony Vega