The US House of Representatives has approved $ 1 billion in additional funding for the Israel Iron Dome rocket defence system after days of discussion encircling the push.
Legislators voted the bill in a 420 to nine vote on Thursday, paving the way for a significant increase in US support for the system.
The bill will now go to the Senate, where it is required to pass easily before being approved into law by President Joe Biden, who has now signalled support for the additional aid.
The movement came amid an intensified debate over US support for Israel and, as an increasingly progressive voice in Congress called on Biden to call for US aid to Israel on the country’s human rights record.
Earlier this week, the inclusion – and later exclusion – of the Iron Dome funding of another bill sparked an uprising in Washington.
The $ 1 billion provisions first appeared Tuesday morning in proposed House of Representatives legislation that would provide short-term emergency funding to the US government to avoid a halt. But by noon, it had been cleared without explanation.
While several US media outlets reported that progressive lawmakers were responsible for excluding funding for Israel from Tuesday’s bill, no lawmaker took credit for the move.
President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP), Lara Friedman said it would be “strange” to include $ 1 billion in aid to Israel in a generic bill to fund the US government to “keep the lights on”.
Democratic leaders, she said, wanted to “circumvent” discussions and debates that come with the typical legal process by introducing aid to Israel into the short-term funding bill.
“It strikes me as a remarkable personal goal of the leadership because if they somehow thought this would prevent members from speaking up and allow them to come without controversy, they would have made a mistake,” Friedman told media.
Even though the $ 1 billion is in addition to the usual US funding for the Iron Dome, Republicans and pro-Israel Democrats have expressed anger over the possible rejection of the provision.