Four Republican senators have introduced a bill to appropriate immediate assistance and aid to Israel.
The standalone bill would ensure funding for Israel is not delayed by President Joe Biden’s competing priorities in the Ukraine war and would strip out “all aid to Gaza that could be funneled to Hamas terrorists,” according to a press release.
Sens. Roger Marshall of Kansas, J.D. Vance of Ohio, Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas, who are co-sponsoring the measure, expect overwhelming bipartisan support for the bill in both the House and Senate, according to their press statement.
Cruz urged the Senate to pass the legislation as soon as possible.
The Israel Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2023 would offer $14.3 billion to Israel if passed and signed into law. Some $10.6 billion of that would provide assistance through the U.S. Department of Defense, $3.5 billion would go to the Israeli military, and $200 million would go for funding “to protect U.S. embassies and personnel in Israel and to help repatriate U.S. citizens from the region.”
The bill specifies that no funds it appropriates can go to Ukraine or to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.
“It is essential that the United States provide support for our allies in Israel. That assistance should not depend on whether we continue to provide aid to Ukraine,” said Vance. “Despite what the president claims, they are unique conflicts that should be handled individually.”
In addition to the 1,400 who died in Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, the terrorist group is thought to be still holding more than 200 hostages, including Israelis and American citizens, The New York Times reported.
The proposed legislation greenlights sending Israel existing U.S. equipment and services to stockpile, to strengthen Israel’s Iron Dome and Iron Beam defense systems, and to replace the weaponry that would be sent to Israel from U.S. stockpiles. The Iron Dome and Iron Beam systems are Israel’s long- and short-range missile-defense systems, respectively, that can neutralize threats to military and civilian targets.
“My colleagues and I firmly believe that any aid to Israel should not be used as leverage to send tens of billions of dollars to Ukraine,” Marshall said. “Any package that does so would result in funds and resources being delayed in Israel’s time of need. The legislation we’ve introduced provides the aid to Israel requested by the Biden administration and should be considered by the Senate immediately.”
In addition to competing priorities for foreign aid, Biden is facing some internal opposition to his stance on Israel from the State Department. Josh Paul, former director of congressional and public affairs in the agency’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, resigned over what he said were grievances with U.S. aid for Israel. Some Arab and Muslim staffers at State told Politico they have considered quitting over the U.S. transfer of arms to Israel, citing concerns over long-term violence in the Middle East.
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