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US House panel proposes $17.6bn in military aid for Israel

The US House Appropriations panel has recommended allocating billions of dollars worth of weapons and munitions to strengthen the Israeli regime amid calls on US President Joe Biden’s administration to defuse tensions in West Asia.

On Saturday, the US House of Representatives Appropriations Committee unveiled a $17.6 billion bill, including billions for upgrading Israeli air defense, the production of artillery and other munitions.

“The need to support our closest ally and our own forces in the region has never been more pressing,” said House Speaker Mike Johnson.

According to Johnson, the funding bill could come to a vote in the full House sometime next week.

The Republican-controlled House had previously approved $14.3 billion in new military aid to Israel, but with the requirement that it be paid for by clawing back a chunk of money already targeted for the US Internal Revenue Service.

The Democratic-controlled Senate balked at that provision and is expected to unveil a legislative package that would aid Israel as well as provide more military assistance for Ukraine in its war against Russia.

According to the House Appropriations Committee, the $17.6 billion would include funds to help replenish Israel’s missile defense systems, procure additional advanced weapons systems, and produce artillery and other munitions.

Some of the funding would also be used to replenish US arms provided to Israel following the October 7 Hamas operation into the occupied territories.

However, the Biden administration quickly dismissed the proposal as a “cynical political maneuver,” accusing the House Republicans of treating military aid to Israel as “a political game.”

In the meantime, various groups including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) have called on the Biden administration to end the Israeli regime’s genocide in the Gaza Strip instead of waging war across West Asia, citing the latest strikes in Iraq and Syria as proof of “the total failure” of US foreign policy in the region.

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced that American forces had struck multiple targets in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen in the past few days.

Following CENTCOM’s announcement, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said, “President Biden should change course to protect both American soldiers and people of the region from more violence.”

“Justice and freedom for the Palestinian people, not more bombs, is what can build a more peaceful future for the region,” Awad said.

 

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