NEWS: ISRAEL

Obama signs Iron Dome extra funds bill

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama signed into law a bill allocating $225 million in additional funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

The money is in addition to some $350 million for the system, which Israel’s government says has deflected more than 80 percent of the rockets it has targeted since the July 8 launch of Israel’s operation against Hamas in Gaza.

“The United States has been clear since the start of this conflict that no country can abide rocket attacks against its civilians,” the White House said in a statement Monday marking the signing.

“The United States supports Israel’s right to defend itself against such attacks,” it said. “We also continue to call on Israeli authorities to take all feasible precautions to prevent civilian casualties in Gaza and protect the civilian Palestinian population from the effects of attacks, and we continue to stress that all parties to the conflict must comply with international humanitarian law.”

The bill was rushed into law at the end of the summer session of Congress last week, with both the Senate and House of Representatives as well as Republicans and Democrats setting aside differences to advance Israel’s emergency request.

The passage came among a welter of pro-Israel actions in Congress last week. Among them:

* The Senate and House of Representatives both unanimously passed non-binding resolutions condemning Hamas for firing its missiles from among civilians.

* The Senate unanimously passed a non-binding resolution condemning the U.N. Human Rights Council for launching an inquiry into Israel’s conduct. The measure had bipartisan backing of the chamber’s leadership.

* A Senate bill passed unanimously requiring the U.S. government to offer a $5 million reward for information leading to the capture of the killers of Naftali Fraenkel, a dual U.S.-Israel citizen and one of three teenagers kidnapped and murdered in June in events leading up to the conflict. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) sponsored the measure.

Posted: 8/5/2014 9:38:49 AM
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