UNITED STATES Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has called on Congress to immediately authorise Tel Aviv’s request for extra emergency funding.
Graham made the remarks in an interview with Fox News from Jerusalem al-Quds on Tuesday, after meeting with both Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Benny Gantz during a trip to Israel this week.
‘There will be a $1 billion request coming to the Pentagon this week from the Israel defence minister to replenish the Iron Dome and a few other things, to upgrade the system,’ Graham said, pledging to lead efforts to secure the request in Congress after the Pentagon officially receives it in the coming days.
‘Every time somebody tries to destroy Israel, our response is going to be more aid,’ while holding a sign that reads ‘more for Israel’.
Claiming the Iron Dome had saved thousands of lives during last month’s Palestinian rocket attacks, Graham said he expected the administration of President Joe Biden and Congress to approve Israel’s request for more funding.
He further emphasised that ‘there’s a wide and deep support for Israel among the Democratic Party,’ although there’s been a big quarrel over the last engagement between the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas and the Israeli regime in the United States.
The call for more US aid came on the same day the Tel Aviv regime reported that Israel had recorded the highest ever tally of military exports in 2020 at $8.3 billion.
The Biden administration has already raised controversy by authorising hundreds of millions of dollars worth of additional weapons sales to Israel.
The sale of $735 million in precision-guided weapons to Israel came at exactly a time when the Tel Aviv regime was staging a bloody campaign of aerial bombardments and artillery shelling against Palestinians in Gaza.
The latest request for more funding comes at a time when some lawmakers are mounting pressure on the Biden administration to take action in the face of Israeli regime’s relentless aggression on Palestinians.
Progressive Democrats in the United States have recently pushed forward efforts to dramatically shift the US relationship with Israel and impose conditions on aid to Tel Aviv.
A recent poll by the Arab American Institute showed that most Americans oppose unrestricted aid to the Tel Aviv regime, as criticism of Israeli policies against Palestinians continues to grow.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Graham thanked the Biden administration for standing by Israel in the latest escalation with Gaza, after the president said there is ‘no shift’ in his commitment to the security of Israel.
He also stressed that Washington’s relationship with Israel will not be affected by Israeli politics, amid reports that Netanyahu’s political rivals are at the point of forming a coalition government that would remove him from power.
‘The government may change in the next couple of days, quite frankly. But one thing that won’t change is the relationship between Israel and the United States,’ Graham said.
The United States has until now provided the Israeli regime with $146 billion in bilateral assistance and missile funding.
At present, almost all US bilateral aid to the regime is in the form of military assistance, according to a report by Congressional Research Service.
Washington has over the years helped the Israeli regime develop its military infrastructure, and allowed it to purchase sophisticated equipment from the US.
Of the $3.8 billion military aid the US gave Israel in 2020, $500m was for missile systems, including investments in the Iron Dome system to intercept incoming rockets.
However, as witnessed in the latest episode, the much-hyped Iron Dome system failed to intercept the rockets fired by Palestinian resistance movements in Gaza.
An analyst has described the US decision to authorise an additional $735 million in weapons sales to Israel as ‘shocking’, following the Tel Aviv regime’s deadly bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip in recent weeks.
The failure showed that the staggering amount of US money has proved inadequate to bolster the apartheid regime’s military capabilities, including the Iron Dome defence system, which has seen around $1.6 billion US investment since 2011.
- Israel unleashed the latest escalation against the coastal sliver after Gazans rose up in protest against its serious violations in the nearby occupied territory of the West Bank, especially the holy city of Jerusalem al-Quds.
The Gaza-based resistance front retaliated by launching thousands of rockets into the occupied territories.
The 11-day Israeli aggression killed more than 250 Palestinians in Gaza including 66 children, wounded more than 1,900 and damaged critical infrastructure and thousands of homes.
A ceasefire took hold on May 21 as Israel and Hamas agreed to halt nearly two weeks of fighting.
Even though Israeli authorities asserted last week they would allow Palestinian medical patients to leave through the Erez crossing into Occupied Territories, they are still preventing the entry of cancer patients requiring chemotherapy, according to a report published by the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz.
Doctors, families and human rights advocates have warned that the border crossing must be reopened for medical cases before the most vulnerable patients become critically ill or die.
Physicians for Human Rights – Israel and the Palestinian human rights organisation al-Mezan stated that Israeli officials are only allowing the entry of people needing to reach intensive care units by ambulance.
They highlighted that the officials agreed to let only a a few isolated cases through following the intervention of the Palestinian Authority and other organisations.
Municipalities in the besieged Gaza Strip reportedly started dumping sewage into the sea due to power cuts and electricity shortages.
One of the patients denied entry was a cancer patient from Gaza City called Souad, whose real name was withheld at her request.
Souad is seriously ill and has a long-range permit allowing her multiple entries so that she can be treated at the Augusta Victoria hospital in occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds. Her treatment includes chemotherapy.
The Palestinian woman came to the Erez crossing last Tuesday on her way to receiving treatment, but was denied entry. She tried again on Sunday, but was refused entry yet again.
‘My wife is gravely ill with cancer and her situation is deteriorating. The first time we came we waited three hours, after which we were told we could not proceed. On Sunday, they refused us entry again. My wife has a biological and chemotherapeutic treatment protocol for her cancer and every delay aggravates her situation,’ her husband told Haaretz.
Separately, Hussein Najjar, a fisherman from southern Gaza, said his 61-year-old mother has grown weak and depressed since missing her regular chemotherapy treatment in Augusta Victoria Hospital for colorectal and lung cancer.
‘Even if we get an appointment today, we don’t know when the crossing will be open and she will be able to go,’ Najjar said. ‘She’s looking for a way to survive, and we can’t find it.’
The family’s situation was made more difficult after Najjar’s boat was destroyed along with several others when an Israeli missile struck a harbour during the bombardment, he said.
His family of seven, including his father and ailing mother, are surviving on a monthly donation of about $50 a month from Oxfam International, he said.
Health officials are also concerned about the coronavirus crisis in the Gaza Strip, given that the only Covid-test laboratory is now inoperable due to the damage caused by an Israeli air raid that hit a nearby building during the 11-day aggression on the enclave.
254 Palestinians, including 66 children, were killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in 11 days of conflict that began on May 10. Israel’s airstrikes also brought widespread devastation to the already impoverished territory.
- A senior official of Hamas says Israel’s security vulnerability was revealed during the regime’s latest war on the besieged Gaza Strip.
The Gaza-based resistance movements responded by launching over 4,000 rockets into the occupied territories, some reaching as far as Tel Aviv and even Haifa and Nazareth to the north.
The Israeli regime was eventually forced to announce a ceasefire, brokered by Egypt, which came into force in the early hours of May 21.