Thursday, March 23, 2023

(JNS) President Joe Biden recently signed a $1.7 trillion government spending bill that will keep the government running through September 2023.

The bill includes $3.3 billion in security assistance for Israel, with an additional $500 million towards restocking its Iron Dome missile defense system following calls by members of Congress after a barrage of rockets fired by Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip in May 2021.

According to AIPAC, the security assistance includes $47.5 million for U.S.-Israel anti-tunnel cooperation. $25 million for U.S.-Israel counter-drone cooperation, $6 million for a new U.S.-Israel cybersecurity cooperation grant program and $2 million for U.S.-Israel homeland security cooperation.

Other pro-Israel legislation included in the bill consists of $3 million for U.S.-Israel healthcare cooperation, $6 million for U.S.-Israel energy and water cooperation, $8 million for Middle East peace cooperation, $2 million for U.S.-Israel agriculture cooperation and $2 million for U.S.-Israel international development cooperation.

Also allocated was $50 million for the “Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace” Act and $5 million to help the integration of Ukrainian and other refugees into Israel. The legislation includes the “Masih Alinejad Hunt Act” that sanctions people who help the Iranian regime target Americans and human rights activists.

Because the Taylor Force Act prohibits funding the Palestinian Authority until it stops paying terrorist stipends, the Biden administration sidestepped that requirement by allocating $225 million to humanitarian projects. In addition, $75 million for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and $42 million for Israel-Palestinian security cooperation was also allocated.

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