AIPAC praises $3.8b in Israel defense assistance after it sails through Congress

Times of Israel

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee praised the Senate and the House of Representatives for authorizing $3.8 billion in defense assistance for Israel.

The pro-Israel lobbying group thanked an array of Democrats and Republicans in Congress for shepherding through the funding this week as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, saying the money “will help Israel protect itself against continuing security threats.”

Also included in the House version of the NDAA was $1 million for the office of the State Department’s anti-Semitism monitor, doubling the current amount.

Jewish Insider reported that two Jewish Democrats were behind the doubling — Ted Deutch of Florida and Max Rose of New York.

The defense funding, once unremarkable, now faces calls for cuts from a small group of Democratic Party left-wingers, who say it should be leveraged to pressure Israel not to annex parts of the West Bank.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has embraced the Trump administration peace plan, unveiled in January 2020, which has been entirely rejected by the Palestinians.

The prime minister has been pushing to move ahead with a key aspect of the plan that allows Israel to extend sovereignty to its settlements in the West Bank, and the Jordan Valley, together comprising about 30 percent of the West Bank territory. Under the US plan, the remaining 70% would be allocated to the Palestinians for a future state.

Though Netanyahu had set July 1 as a target date to unilaterally apply sovereignty, he has refrained from taking steps amid wide opposition in the international community and even Washington, and among his political allies.

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