US Senate panel looks to double funds for Israel’s Iron Dome

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A US Senate panel has approved a measure that would double the funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile system as Tel Aviv’s new wave of aggression against Palestinians continues.

More than 200 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds wounded, including women and children, by the Israeli offensive against the besieged Gaza Strip. In response to the attack, Palestinian resistance fighters fired rockets into Israeli cities. The Iron Dome has reportedly shot down most of the rockets fired from Gaza. One Israeli has died by a rocket.

On Tuesday, the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee approved a spending bill that would provide $621.6 million for Israeli missile defense, including $351 million for the Iron Dome.

“It works,” said Senator Dick Durbin, the chairman of the subcommittee.

The Iron Dome is a short-range rocket defense system designed to intercept rockets and artillery shells fired from a range of between four and 70 kilometers.

In 2013, Congress allocated $235 million for the Iron Dome. And the Obama administration had requested about $176 million for the system for 2015, but the Senate panel doubled the amount.

Israel already receives billions of dollars of American taxpayers’ money each year. Under an existing 10-year aid agreement between Washington and Tel Aviv signed in 2007, $30 billion of American money is flowing to Israel.

The US annual military aid to Israel has been elevated from $2.4 billion to $3.1 billion through 2017 under the existing agreement.

Meanwhile, US and Israeli officials have discussed a surge in US military aid to Israel in a new aid package that would extend through 2027.

GJH/GJH

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