U.S. and Israel sign 30 billion-dollar aid deal

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

The U.S. and Israel have signed a huge new arms deal.

The memorandum of understanding signed in Jerusalem today would boost U.S. military aid to Israel to three billion dollars a year for ten years. That represents a 25-percent increase over current funding and is meant in part to offset U.S. plans to sell advanced weapons and fighter planes to Saudi Arabia.

Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, signing for the U.S., says regional threats to Israel are also threats to America. He says those threats include Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran.

Burns thinks the arms deals will win the backing of Congress.

The Israeli aid package was finalized during Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's White House talks with President Bush two months ago.

Besides helping Israel, the U.S. is trying to strengthen other moderate Mideast allies as a counterweight to what Washington sees as the growing influence of Iran.

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