U.S House approves $1bn in additional aid for Israel after uproar

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The US House of Representatives has approved $1bn in additional funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system after days of controversy around the push.

Legislators passed the bill in a 420 to nine vote on Thursday, paving the way for a significant increase in US support for the system.

The bill will now go to the Senate, where it is expected to pass easily before being signed into law by President Joe Biden, who already has signalled support for the additional aid.

The move came amid an intensifying debate about US support for Israel and as a growing number of progressive voices in Congress are calling on the President to condition U.S assistance to Israel on the country’s human rights record.

The inclusion and subsequent exclusion of the Iron Dome funding from a different bill created an uproar in Washington earlier this week.

The $1bn provision first appeared on Tuesday morning in proposed House of Representatives legislation aimed at providing short-term emergency funding for the US government to avoid a shutdown. But by the afternoon, it had been removed without explanation.

The President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP), Lara Friedman said, “It was strange to include $1bn in aid for Israel in a generic bill designed to fund the US government to keep the lights on.

“Democratic leaders, wanted to circumvent discussions and debates that come with that typical legislative process by including the aid for Israel in the short-term funding bill.

“It strikes me as a remarkable own-goal by leadership because if they somehow thought that this would prevent members from speaking up and allow them to get this through without controversy, they were mistaken,” Friedman added.

The $1bn is in addition to the usual US funding for the Iron Dome, Republicans and pro-Israel Democrats expressed anger at the eventual dropping of the provision.

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Kamila/Al-Jazeera

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