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US Congress

The US House Appropriations Committee voted Thursday (July 1) to fully fund $3.3 billion in security assistance to Israel, AIPAC said in a statement.

“The Committee’s appropriation, with no added political conditions, reflects the strong bipartisan commitment for Israel’s security in Congress and the Biden administration,” AIPAC said.

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The Iron Dome, which has saved countless lives, was used constantly in May during the conflict to intercept and destroy the thousands of rockets fired at Israeli civilians by terrorists in Gaza.

President Joe Biden promised weeks ago that America would make sure the Iron Dome system was resupplied with Tamir interceptor missiles so that civilians would not have to worry about being targeted in more rocket attacks.

US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said during a visit to Israel last month that he expected Washington to authorize as much as $1 billion for Israel to replenish the Iron Dome system.

“There’s been a big dustup over the last engagement between Hamas and the State of Israel in the United States,” Graham said, “but I’m here to tell you that there’s a wide and deep support for Israel among the Democratic Party.”

Graham said “The Iron Dome performed incredibly well, saving thousands of Israelis . . . the administration will say ‘yes’ to this request and it will sail through Congress.”

A bill authorizing the Executive Branch to redirect US foreign assistance to help Israel replenish the system’s interceptor missiles was introduced in the Senate after the 11-day mini war, Operation Guardian of the Walls, between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

The bill was intended to redirect US assistance earmarked for areas under Hamas control to Israel instead for resupplying Iron Dome interceptors.

Opposition to the Bill in Both Houses
Opposing lawmakers made a great effort to force inclusion of a section that would condition the funding upon “compliance” with Congressional mandates on Israeli security.

Vermont’s Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, a firm supporter of the BDS (boycott, divest and sanctions) economic war on Israel, introduced a resolution — also in May — to block a pending sale of $735 million in arms to the Jewish State.

A matching bill was introduced in the House by anti-Israel members of “The Squad” – the contingent led by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Mark Pocan (D-WI).

Among the supporters of the bill was Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), chair of the House Appropriations Committee’s subpanel on defense.

Bill Approved by Committee, No Strings Attached
Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in Washington in early June to discuss the issue.

Austin had already declared the US “commitment to Israel is enduring and ironclad” after having met with Gantz in Tel Aviv.

The bill approved Thursday funds the full $3.3 billion in US security assistance to Israel as was agreed upon in the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

A number of bilateral US-Israel collaborative research initiatives plus programs to “build partnerships between Israelis and Palestinians,” as well a US-Israel international development collaboration to address growing challenges in the developing world related to water scarcity, agriculture and energy storage were funded as well.

“Creating and sharing solutions to regional development challenges is an important part of Israeli-Arab normalization,” AIPAC added.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.