US House approves $17 billion military aid package for Israel in major spending bill

Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu.

The US House of Representatives passed a $95 billion legislative package on Saturday with significant bipartisan support, despite objections, international media reported.

The package includes security assistance for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, said the report by Reuters.

Specifically, the legislation allocates $17 billion in defence aid to Israel and around $9 billion for humanitarian relief in Gaza and other war-torn regions. The final decision on the allocation of funds for Gaza rests with the White House, with expectations that roughly $2 billion will be directed towards Gaza.

The bill now moves to the Democratic-majority Senate, which previously passed a similar measure more than two months ago. Both Democratic President Joe Biden and top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell have urged House Speaker Mike Johnson to bring the bill up for a vote.

The Senate is anticipated to approve the measure next week, after which it will be sent to Biden for signing into law.

Regarding aid to Israel, the legislation designates $5.2 billion for replenishing and expanding Israel’s missile defence system, $3.5 billion for purchasing advanced weapons systems, $1 billion to enhance weapons production, $4.4 billion for other defence supplies and services to Israel, and approximately $2.4 billion for US operations in the region during the Gaza conflict.

Additionally, the bill includes provisions to prohibit funds from going to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which supports Palestinian refugees.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz commented that the House’s approval of aid “sends a strong message to our enemies.”

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