Israeli officials finally agreed to a record-large $38 billion US aid package last week, in an effort to avoid politicizing the aid process within the US ahead of the November election. This, however, appears not to be working, as a group of Senate Republicans have introduced another bill aiming to dramatically modify the agreement.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R – SC) insisted that this is a “very dramatic moment” in US-Israeli relations, and that Congress should get to be involved. Graham had been trying to convince Israel to reject Obama’s deal and negotiate with the Republican Congress instead.
This bill would give Israel another $1.5 billion in the first year of the ten-year deal, and would remove the part of the agreement in which Israel promises not to lobby for more money for the duration of the package. This suggests that such extra aid packages could become an annual affair.
The Senate had demanded Obama give Israel a record-large deal, which indeed he did, but Graham is now claiming he was “nickel and diming” Israel. While the bill aims to give Israel legal cover to accept the extra money despite promising not to, it remains to be seen if Israel will do so.