2021-June-18 10:53
2021-May-24  10:05

US Senators Push Bill to Redirect Gaza-Bound Humanitarian Funds to 'Replenish' Israel's Iron Dome

TEHRAN (FNA)- Four Republican Senators called for federal funds designated by the administration of President Joe Biden for Gaza-based humanitarian aid to be redirected "to help Israel replenish its highly-effective missile defense interceptors".

A statement from GOP Senators Marco Rubio of Florida, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and Ted Cruz of Texas said with Hamas continuing to launch indiscriminate rocket attacks against Israel, "Americans have seen the images of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence systems repeatedly intercepting rockets and saving the lives of countless civilians", RIA Novosti reported.

The 11 days of hostilities involving rocket attacks and airstrikes that left 248 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead in the region’s worst bout of violence in years have been brought to an end by an Egypt-brokered ceasefire, confirmed on Thursday night.

According to the United Nations, over 77,000 Palestinians have been displaced by airstrikes that reduced hundreds of apartment buildings to rubble.

With Gaza’s water and power infrastructure damaged, the area faces the daunting task of recovery and rebuilding, with many countries pledging to fund the effort.

Biden acknowledged on Thursday that the United States would be sending humanitarian aid to Gaza, but added the process would be coordinated with the Palestinian Authority “in a manner that does not permit Hamas to simply restock its military arsenal".

The GOP senators’ move comes in the wake of a Democratic effort to block arms sales to Tel Aviv.

New York Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez earlier introduced a resolution to block a US-supplied weapons package to Israel that had been vetted by the Biden administration ahead of the outbreak of violence in the Middle East.

Congress was officially notified of the proposed sale of $735 million in precision-guided weapons to Israel.

Forming the bulk of the deal were Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or JDAMS, which can transform so-called “dumb” bombs into precision-guided missiles and have been purchased by Israel in the past.

Ocasio-Cortez, joined by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wisc., stated, "For decades, the US has sold billions of dollars in weaponry to Israel without ever requiring them to respect basic Palestinian rights."

The US Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district added that the US has "directly contributed" to the death and displacement of "millions" of Palestinians.

The recent spate of violence in the Middle East has served to both deepen the partisan divide in Congress, and reportedly fuel a split within the Democratic Party.

While Israel maintains staunch defenders in the US Democratic Party leadership, the younger generation of lawmakers is reportedly showing growing skepticism about Israeli actions, including “unlawful evictions, violent attacks on protesters”.

After several days of brewing tensions between Palestinians and Israeli police over the forced eviction of Palestinian families in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, and restricted access for Palestinians to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on top of the Temple Mount during the holy month of Ramadan, the conflict between Palestinian resistance groups and Israel escalated on May 10.

As a result, thousands of rockets were fired at Israel by Palestinians and the Israeli Army launched deadly air raids on the besieged enclave before an Egypt-brokered ceasefire was struck on Thursday night.