Foreign Relations Committee chair proposes Israel support legislation
Foreign Relations Committee Chair Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) on Saturday proposed legislation that intends to support Israel with “the tools it needs to defend itself.”
“As President Biden said earlier today, the United States stands shoulder to shoulder with Israel in support of its right to defend itself against terrorism and do what is necessary in the coming days and weeks to protect its people,” Cardin said in his statement.
The United States government and Congress must assist Israel, Cardin said.
“I intend to move forward legislation at the first opportunity that will focus on providing Israel what it needs to defend itself. That includes replenishment of missile defense for Iron Dome that ensures such interceptors are always available,” Cardin’s statement said.
The Iron Dome is Israel’s air missile defense system that can defend against short-range rockets, intercepting them in the air above. It must be reloaded each time and can be costly, especially given the amount of missiles being launched by Palestine’s militant group, Hamas.
Cardin wants to include “supplemental funding for Israel’s defense as it navigates the immediate aftermath of this terrorist attack” in his planned legislation, he said.
It’s critical that the U.S. reinforce its relationship with Israel by confirming an ambassador to the country, he added.
“I hope my colleagues will join me in promptly confirming Secretary Jacob J. Lew as the new U.S. Ambassador to Israel,” Cardin’s statement said.
Netanyahu declared war against Hamas on Saturday after they launched a barrage of rocket strikes and entered the country in a surprise attack. Soldiers and civilians have been captured, the Associated Press confirmed.
Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday, pledging “all appropriate means” of U.S. support for the government and people of Israel.
At least 250 Israelis and 232 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting so far, according to Israeli media reports and the Palestinian government.