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US slashes $1 billion from Israel’s military aid

Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday removed $1 billion in military funding for Israel from legislation to fund the US government after objections from House of Representatives liberals, setting the stage for a potential fight over the matter later this year.

Some House Democrats objected to a provision in a stopgap spending bill to provide the additional funding so Israel can replenish its “Iron Dome” missile-defense system.

The US company Raytheon produces many Iron Dome components.

The House is debating legislation to fund the federal government through Dec. 3 and raise the nation’s borrowing limit, Reuters reported.

The dispute forced the House Rules Committee to adjourn briefly before leaders of the Appropriations Committee pledged that funding for the Israeli system would be included in a defense spending bill later this year. That could set the stage for another dispute over military aid for Israel.

Democratic Representative Jamaal Bowman said House members had not been given enough time to consider the matter.

“The problem is leadership (will) just throw something on our table, give us about five minutes to decide what we’re going to do and then tries to move forward with it,” Bowman told reporters.

The United States has already provided more than $1.6 billion for Israel to develop and build the Iron Dome system, according to a US Congressional Research Service report last year. This reflects perennially strong support for aid to Israel among both Democrats and Republicans.

Some liberal Democrats objected to that policy this year, citing Palestinian casualties as Israel struck back after Hamas rocket attacks in May. Israel said most of the 4,350 rockets fired from Gaza during the conflict were blown out of the sky by Iron Dome interceptors.

Source: Asharq Al-Awsat

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