Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanks U.S. President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress for the ''historic'' military aid package. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION). Story: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday (September 14) thanked the United States' president and Congress for what he called an "historic" military aid package. In a televised statement from his office in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said he is grateful to the Obama administration for supporting Israel's security needs. Netanyahu recorded the message an hour before the aid deal was signed in Washington, D.C. "I would like to thank President Obama and his administration for this historic deal. I also thank our many, many friends in the American Congress and the American people for their support, bi-partisan support from the United States,'' Netanyahu said. "This deal illustrates a simple truth: the relationship between Israel and the United States is solid and powerful, it does not mean that we don't have disputes now and then, but these are disputes you have between family, it does not affect whatsoever the great friendship between Israel and the United States, a friendship that this aid deal represents, that will strengthen Israel's military force in the next decade," he added. According to the deal, the United States will give Israel USD38 billion in military aid over a decade, the largest such aid package in U.S. history. The agreement was signed at the State Department by U.S. Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon and by Jacob Nagel, acting head of Netanyahu's national security council. The deal, whose details have been reported by Reuters, will allow Israel to upgrade most of its fighter aircraft, improve its ground forces' mobility and strengthen its missile defense systems, a top U.S. official said. While the package constitutes the most U.S. military aid ever given to one country, it entails concessions by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to officials on both sides. Those include Israel's promise not to seek additional funds from Congress beyond what will be guaranteed annually in the new package, and to phase out a special arrangement that has allowed Israel to spend part of its U.S. aid on its own defense industry instead of on American-made weapons, the officials said. The USD38 billion memorandum of understanding covers U.S. fiscal years 2019-2028 and succeeds the current USD30 billion MOU signed in 2007, which expires at the end of fiscal 2018.