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Senate Passes Foreign Aid Supplemental Package With Billions for Israel

(JNS) The U.S. Senate passed a $95 billion foreign aid package early on Tuesday morning, Feb. 13 that includes $14.1 billion for Israel, $60.1 billion for Ukraine and $9.1 billion in humanitarian aid for conflict zones, including the Gaza Strip.

After an all-night debate session, the bill passed with a vote of 70-29 and split the Republican caucus in half, with a little more than half of GOP senators voting “nay.” They were joined by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.), who said that they were opposed to continued funding for Israel.

U.S. President Joe Biden first proposed the foreign aid package shortly after the terrorist attacks in southern Israel on Oct. 7, perpetrated by the Hamas terrorist organization based in Gaza, but the bill has been in limbo over Republican demands to similarly address the migration crisis at the U.S. southern border. Earlier this month, House Republican leaders rejected a Senate compromise that included border security measures, prompting the Senate to pursue a clean foreign aid package.

Of the $14.1 billion earmarked for Israel, $10.6 billion is U.S. Defense Department funding, including $4 billion for the Iron Dome and David’s Sling missile-defense systems; and $1.2 billion for further development of the Iron Beam laser-defense system to counter short-range rockets. Another $3.5 billion is a U.S. State Department grant for Israel to pay for American military materiel and services.

The aid package also includes $2.4 billion to support U.S. operations in the Red Sea to defend international shipping from attacks by Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The bill includes a provision that prevents any of that humanitarian assistance funding from being distributed to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, which Israel has accused of being compromised over links between its Gaza-based staff and Hamas. Israel has said that it has evidence that 12 UNRWA staff members participated directly in the Oct. 7 attacks, which prompted the United States and 14 other countries to suspend funding to the U.N. Palestinian aid agency.

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