‘We give them $4.5bn a year’: Israel will still be ‘good’ after US withdrawal from Syria – Trump

‘We give them $4.5bn a year’: Israel will still be ‘good’ after US withdrawal from Syria – Trump
Donald Trump has told Benjamin Netanyahu that the US is paying billions of dollars a year for Israeli security, and that Tel Aviv should not be worried about losing its influence in the region after US troops withdraw from Syria.

“I spoke with Bibi [Benjamin Netanyahu]. I told Bibi, you know we give Israel 4.5 billion dollars a year. And they are doing very well at defending themselves,” Trump told reporters on his way back from Iraq where he paid a surprise visit to US soldiers stationed there. “We are going to take great care of Israel. Israel is going to be good,” US president added, replying to a question on how his announced withdrawal from Syria will impact Israel.

And we give, frankly, a lot more than that, if you look at the books.

Israel, already the largest recipient of American foreign aid since World War II, managed during the presidency of Barack Obama to secure another $38 billion military aid package over the next 10 years. This amount, however, fell short of the annual $4.5 billion that Netanyahu had been seeking. Last year, US aid to Israel amounted to nearly $3.2 billion and is expected to rise once the new deal starts in FY2019.

Over the years, the Jewish state has used the American funds to build up its military capabilities and now feels confident in its ability to protect its interests in the region.

“We are standing steadfast on our red lines in Syria and everywhere else,” Netanyahu said Wednesday, noting that Israel has developed “special capabilities” in weapons and defensive systems, as well as attack missiles that can destroy any target, even after US troops withdraw from Syria.

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Last week the US President surprised the world by announcing that he would pull all 2,000 US soldiers out of the war-torn country, leaving Israel to tackle the perceived Iranian threat all on its own. Undeterred, Netanyahu stressed that Israel is “not prepared to accept the Iranian military entrenchment in Syria,” vowing to continue strikes against its neighbor.

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