US okays $17 billion in military aid for Israel

WASHINGTON  -  The US House of Representatives on Saturday passed a $95 billion legislative package with broad bipartisan support providing security assistance to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, over bitter objections from Republican hardliners.

This included $17 billion in defense aid to Israel, and some $9 billion providing humanitarian relief to people in Gaza as well as other war-torn regions (the final decision on allocation was up to the White House, with analysts expecting roughly $2 billion would go to Gaza). The legislation now proceeds to the Democratic-majority Senate, which passed a similar measure more than two months ago. US leaders from Democratic President Joe Biden to top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell have been urging embattled Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson to bring it up for a vote.

The Senate is expected to pass the measure next week, sending it to Biden to sign into law.

Of the aid to Israel, some $5.2 billion will go toward replenishing and expanding Israel’s missile and rocket defense system; another $3.5 billion will go to purchasing advanced weapons systems; $1 billion to enhance weapons production; $4.4 billion for other defense supplies and services provided to Israel; and some $2.4 billion to US operations in the region amid the Gaza war.

Of the aid to Israel, some $5.2 billion will go toward replenishing and expanding Israel’s missile and rocket defense system; another $3.5 billion will go to purchasing advanced weapons systems; $1 billion to enhance weapons production; $4.4 billion for other defense supplies and services provided to Israel; and some $2.4 billion to US operations in the region amid the Gaza war.

The bill will also prohibit funds going to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which provides support to Palestinian refugees.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz said the House’s approval of aid “sends a strong message to our enemies.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the bill “demonstrates strong bipartisan support for Israel and defends Western civilization. Thank you friends, thank you America!