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US approves $1bn funding for Israel’s Iron Dome defense system

Washington – The US Senate approved on Wednesday $1 billion in supplemental funding for Israel’s Iron Dome defense system.

The Senate included the funding in a $1.5 trillion Omnibus Appropriations Agreement, scrambling to avert a government shutdown.

The 2,741-page agreement also gave ‘Israel’ $3.8bn in annual defence assistance in keeping with a 10 year Memorandum of Understanding between the two allies.

The legislation was announced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

In addition, the bill includes a separate section that is intended to promote the US-Israel relationship.

It is also intended to back the normalization agreements between ‘Israel’ and four Arab countries, brokered by the Trump administration.

In total, US defence-related spending would increase by $42bn or 5.6 percent to $782bn, compared to last year.

Last September, a handful of progressive House Democrats objected to a provision that would include the $1bn in Iron Dome funding in the government funding bill.

Those Democrats accused ‘Israel’ of human rights abuses against Palestinians.

They successfully stopped the money from being included within the stopgap funding bill.

However, the House approved a stand-alone bill to provide ‘Israel’ with $1bn for replenishing the anti-missile system.

The vote passed with an overwhelming majority, with 420 members voting in favour and only nine against.

At the time, several lawmakers and progressive groups criticised the stand-alone bill.

‘Israel’ has been using the Iron Dome to intercept projectiles.

According to the Israeli occupation government, during the most recent escalation with Hamas last May, it had a roughly 90 percent interception rate.

Over 250 Palestinians in Gaza were killed in the Israeli air strikes in that May, including 66 children, 39 women, and 17 elderly people.

More than 1,900 were also wounded, including 380 children, 540 women, and 91 elderly.

As of November 2020, the US had provided $1.6 billion to ‘Israel’ for Iron Dome batteries, interceptors, co-production costs and general maintenance, according to Congressional Research Service.

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