Israel to ask US for additional $1 billion military aid

Israel to ask US for additional $1 billion military aid
2 min read
02 June, 2021
US Sentor Lindsey Graham says the request is likely to be quickly approved by Washington.
Lindsey Graham emphasised the US's 'wide and deep' support for Israel [Getty]

 

Israel is expected to ask the US for $1 billion in military aid later this week to replenish its Iron Dome missile defence system, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

Graham expects Washington to quickly approve the request, which follows Israel's recent assault on the Gaza Strip.

"There will be a $1 billion request coming to the Pentagon this week from the (Israeli) defence minister to replenish the Iron Dome and a few other things, to upgrade the system," Graham was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Graham, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee which oversees foreign military aid, met with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Benny Gantz on his visit to Israel.

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The South Carolina senator said Israel's request would be welcomed by President Joe Biden and Democrat-majority Congress.

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

Israel has traditionally enjoyed strong bi-partisan support in the US, however, several Democrat lawmakers have grown increasingly vocal in their criticism of Israel's treatment of Palestinians and use of military force.

Biden, who has pledged to replenish Israel's Iron Dome arsenal, has also come under fire from within his own party for his response to the recent crisis in Gaza.

During the bombardment, Biden emphasised Israel's "right to defend itself", while omitting mention of the overwhelming number of Palestinian deaths from Israeli airstrikes, including 66 children.

Israel's 11-day assault on the besieged coastal Palestinian enclave beginning May 10 killed more than 250 Palestinians, with huge areas of Gaza flattened.

In a statement, on Wednesday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) urged Americans and US lawmakers to oppose Israel's latest request for aid.

“Every American must tell their member of Congress that enough is enough – we will no longer unconditionally subsidise Israeli’s military, which is guilty of war crimes in Gaza and throughout occupied Palestine and apartheid Israel," CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in the statement.

“The blood of Palestinian civilians is on our nation’s hands as Congress and the Biden administration just weeks ago approved $735 million to re-arm Israel’s military with the same types of bombs that killed children in Gaza."