Israel presents 4,5 billion USD wish list to the US

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returns to the White House next week seeking to boost annual U.S. military aid to an estimated $4.5 billion and, his former ambassador to Washington says.

“It’s not going to be warm and fuzzy,” said Michael Oren, an Israeli lawmaker who was Netanyahu’s U.S. envoy for five years. “It’s about what we need to defend ourselves and what we need to deter Iran.”

Netanyahu’s March 3 speech to the Republican-led Congress opposing the Iran accord so strained ties with President Barack Obama that he was told he wouldn’t be welcome at the White House. Now that the deal has been approved, both men have reasons to focus during this visit on areas of agreement, such as strengthening Israel’s defense capabilities. Few expect resolution of their ideological differences over Iran and peace efforts with the Palestinians before Obama’s term ends.

 “There is a real opportunity to at least steady this very rocky relationship in its final year,” said Aaron David Miller, vice president of the Wilson Center in Washington, who served as a Middle East negotiator under Democratic and Republican presidents. “I think this administration would like to leave office with the channel changed.”