US members of Congress cut military aid to Israel from domestic spending bill

Some Democrats object to further funding of Israel's Iron Dome defence system

Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system fires to intercept a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashdod, Israel May 17, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Democratic members of Congress on Tuesday removed $1 billion in military funding for Israel from legislation to finance the US government after objections from liberals in the House of Representatives, setting the stage for a dispute over the matter 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-defence system. The US company Raytheon produces many Iron Dome parts.

The House is debating legislation to fund the federal government until December 3 and raise the nation's borrowing limit.

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 defence spending bill this year.

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," Mr Bowman said.

The US has already provided more than $1.6bn 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 now say they object to that policy because of Palestinian casualties when 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.

Updated: September 21st 2021, 9:53 PM
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