Israel, US to initiate huge arms deal

Israel, US will initiate multi billion dollar arms deal after disagreements over Iranian nuclear deal

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem November 8, 2015.

In efforts to sway the disagreements over the Iranian deal aside, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the US President Barack Obama will meet on Monday to jumpstart a multi-billion-dollar defence deal.

Since the finalization of the long awaited Iranian nuclear deal in July of this year, the two have not met.

The long awaited meeting is expected to revolve around a possible 10-year defence deal, with reports that Israel will seek an increase in the more than $3 billion US annual military aid it receives, in addition to the US spending on the Israeli Iron Dome Missile Defence System.

The new 10-year defence deal is not expected to be finalised during the Obama-Netanyahu summit and would only take effect after the current accord expires in 2017.

Israel is currently looking into getting more than 33 stealth F-35 fighters, which are already ordered, precision munitions and a chance to buy V-22 Ospreys and other weapons systems.

A Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet is seen in its hanger at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland October 28, 2015.

The deal between Iran and six world powers, including Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States is aimed at monitoring Iran's most sensitive nuclear work for over 12 years, in exchange for immediate relief for the country from economic sanctions, which have long crippled its economy.

Netanyahu described the agreement as a "historic mistake," which would open the way for Iran to produce nuclear weapons. Netanyahu says the deal will bring Tehran an excessive surplus in financial abilities after sanctions relief, which could help fund regional conflicts, while not doing enough to curb the Iranian nuclear program.

"They will not fall in love with each other," said Zvi Rafiah, a longtime consultant on US affairs and former congressional specialist at Israel's Washington embassy. Rafiah spoke on the nature of the personal relationship between Obama and Netanyahu. “However, I'm sure (Netanyahu) understands exactly the value of this visit and the value of the United States" said Rafiah.

"Personal feeling are not nearly as important as their ability to work together to advance the national security interests of the two countries that they lead" said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

Ran Baratz controversy

The American Israeli relations took a hit, particularly after Israeli media dug up past comments from Netanyahu’s newly appointed communications director Ran Baratz, accusing Obama of anti-semitism and saying US Secretary of State John Kerry's "mental age" was no older than 12.

Ran Baratz is seen at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, in this June 18, 2013 file picture. He has accused Barack Obama of anti-Semitism, suggested he was not important enough to assassinate.

Baratz reportedly wrote the comments on Facebook, all of which Netanyahu later condemned after they surfaced. Netanyahu described Baratz posts as "troubling and offensive."

However, the controversy appears to have no effect on the upcoming talks, "The (Obama) administration is actually very keen to show that it is committed to Israel's defence," said Jonathan Rynhold of Israel's Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies. "It's not just what Netanyahu wants."

In addition to his meeting with Obama, Netanyahu will speak to the left-leaning Centre for American Progress think tank in what some analysts see as an attempt to improve relations with Democrats. In addition to receiving an award from the right-wing American Enterprise Institute.

TRTWorld and agencies