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10-year Memorandums of Understanding
US aid to Israel - Fiscal Years 2009-2018 and 2019-2028


The United States has given Israel more foreign assistance than any other country. In recent decades, a guaranteed aid minimum has been formalized through ten-year "memorandum of understanding" agreements signed by the US Department of State and the government of Israel.

In the world of business, MOUs are not legally binding and are frequently just stepping stones to binding legal contracts for initiatives such as joint ventures or partnerships. In US law, MOUs are the same as non-binding "letters of intent." MOUs are used in international relations because they take less time to enact, do not involve ratification by the US Congress and can even be kept secret from taxpayers.

In September of 2016, three days after ratification, IRmep requested the 2019 ten-year MOU from the US State Department under FOIA. While mainstream news outlets based their reporting on an official White House web page, IRmep discovered many troubling aspects about the commitments the U.S. had pledged in the actual document. First, the MOU seemed to incentivize war by guaranteeing additional aid in the event of military conflict. Second, although the Obama administration trumpeted that more of the aid package would be spent in the United States (ostensibly producing jobs, though military industries do far less of that than other sectors), the MOU permits up to 28% to be spent inside Israel (more than the 26.3% in the previous 2009-2018 MOU.)


IRmep also sought the Fiscal Year 2009-2018 MOU negotiated with Israel during the Bush administration. Unlike treaties for mutual military defense, the MOU unilaterally promised a minimum of $30 billion over ten years assuming "adequate funding levels for U.S. foreign assistance overall."

Although the Symington and Glenn provisions of the Arms Export Control Act prohibit, subject to certain provisions, foreign aid to nuclear states that are not signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, neither Congress nor the President have chosen to recognize Israel's status as the only nuclear power in the Middle East in aid legislation or when signing spending authorizations into law.



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