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U.S., Israel sign new $38 billion military aid deal, the biggest ever

WASHINGTON - The United States and Israel have signed a new aid deal that will give the Israeli military $38 billion over the course of 10 years. It’s the largest such agreement the U.S. has ever had with any country.

After months of negotiations, the unprecedented deal was signed at the State Department on Wednesday.

The aid totals $3.8 billion a year - up from $3.1 billion the U.S. gave Israel annually under the current 10-year deal that expires in 2018.

Under the agreement, Israel’s ability to spend part of the funds on Israeli military products will be phased out, eventually requiring all of the funds to be spent on American military industries.

Israel’s preference for spending some of the funds internally had been a major sticking point in the deal. 

In a statement, President Barack Obama said: “America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable.  Over the past eight years, my Administration has time and again demonstrated this commitment in word and deed.”

The president also said in announcing the deal that his administration believes it is important that Israel moves towards “the realization of an independent and viable Palestine.”

After last year’s historic Iran nuclear deal, reports surfaced that President Obama offered Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a new and improved package of military aid. The Israeli leader was among the most vocal critics of the deal.