Four Senate Republicans introduced legislation on Friday to bolster Israel’s missile defense system known as the “Iron Dome” – a move that counters a Democratic effort to block arms sales to Israel.
The deadly 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas has left at least 230 Palestinians dead, over 60 of which were children. Israel likewise suffered 12 deaths, one of which was a 5-year old boy.
President Joe Biden said the U.S. would send aid to Gaza “in a manner that does not permit Hamas to simply restock its military arsenal.”
But Republicans on the Hill have said not so fast.
GOP Senators Marco Rubio of Florida, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and Ted Cruz of Texas have called for the federal funds designated for Gaza-based humanitarian aid to be redirected “to help Israel replenish its highly-effective missile defense interceptors.”
“With Hamas and other Iranian-backed Palestinian terrorists continuing to launch indiscriminate rocket attacks against Israel, Americans have seen the images of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense systems repeatedly intercepting rockets and saving the lives of countless civilians,” Hagerty said in a statement.
Prior to the outbreak of violence last week, the Biden administration had approved and sent to Congress a $735 million arms sale to Israel.
The violent conflict in the Middle East has not only deepened the partisan divide in Congress, but the Democratic Party has seen a split as some remain hesitant to break ties with one of the US’s strongest allies.
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