Ilhan Omar slams $1bn military aid bill to Israel
US lawmakers green-lit a $1 billion payment Thursday to resupply Israel's Iron Dome missile defence system after funding was controversially stripped from a separate bill following a revolt from the Democrats' left flank.
The money had originally been included in legislation addressing a looming government shutdown and a potential October debt crisis.
But a group of progressives in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives said they would tank the legislation unless Iron Dome funding was removed from the wording.
Taking to Twitter, Muslim-American congresswoman Ilhan Omar said: “Given the human rights violations in Gaza, Sheikh Jarrah, and ever-growing settlement expansion, we should not be ramming through a last-minute $1 billion increase in military funding for Israel without any accountability.”
Fellow Democrat Betty McCollum, who has in the past introduced legislation to cut funding to Israel, criticised the language used in the funding legislation.
“As my colleague, @BettyMcCollum04 has pointed out, this language was added without the knowledge or consent of relevant committee chairs or proper budgeting,” Omar said, adding that the vote wasn’t just about the Iron Dome.
We continue to pay lip service to human rights, peace and a two state solution. Yet we also continue to provide Israel with funding without addressing the underlying issue of the occupation.— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) September 23, 2021
“It’s about adding an extra billion dollars on top of the $73 million we already allocated this year. That’s 14 times more than we normally spend on it and 60% of what we’ve provided for it over the course of a decade.
Omar went on to add that any loss of life “whether Israeli or Palestinian” is an “unspeakable tragedy”.
She concluded: “We continue to pay lip service to human rights, peace and a two-state solution. Yet we also continue to provide Israel with funding without addressing the underlying issue of the occupation.”
Iron Dome has destroyed thousands of short-range rockets and shells launched by Hamas militants from Gaza before they were able to hit populated areas, Israeli officials say.
The objections to the funding underlined however that progressives are becoming increasingly skeptical of no-strings-attached aid to Israel, three months after Naftali ousted hardline right-wing premier Benjamin Netanyahu.