The United States will not be limited by the new $38 billion 10-year “memorandum of understanding” (MOU) in determining whether and how to increase security aid to Israel, Donald Trump’s Israel advisor told Jewish Insider on Thursday.
“Under a Trump administration, the level of strategic and tactical cooperation between the two countries will be of an unprecedented high level,” Attorney David Friedman, who advises the Republican presidential nominee on U.S.-Israel affairs, said. “The U.S. will not be limited in its support for Israel by the terms of the MOU.”
On Wednesday, the Obama administration and the Israeli government signed the new decade-long security assistance package, which was described as the “single largest pledge of bilateral military assistance in U.S. history.”
Under the agreement, Israel also committed not to approach Congress for additional budgets for missile defense systems, and “volunteered” to give back any money Congress gives above the MOU’s limits, The Washington Post reported. According to Senator Lindsey Graham, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed a letter to the administration saying the government will not accept the money above the MOU amount.
Friedman said that he hasn’t spoken to Trump about the new aid deal since the signing ceremony, “But I believe that Mr. Trump would see the MOU as a first step, with much more that still needs to be done.”
In March, Trump suggested that as president he would require Israel to pay back the United States for some of the foreign aid it received. But he later retracted that position. During the negotiations over the MOU, Friedman was quoted as saying that a Trump administration will not be looking to cut back on foreign aid “and will in all likelihood increase it significantly.”
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Wednesday pledged that if elected president, she will “work with our partners to implement this agreement, ensure that Israel always maintains its qualitative military edge, and take our alliance to the next level.”