The White House dismissed the House Republicans’ new $17.6 billion military assistance package to Israel amid the Hamas war as a political maneuver.
The proposed $17.6 billion military aid package to Israel reportedly includes $4 billion earmarked for replenishing missile defense systems, as well as funding for acquiring various weapons systems and munitions. In addition, $3.3 billion is pledged for financing U.S. military operations against the Iranian-backed Houthi terror militia, according to the House Appropriations Committee.
U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson emphasized that the military package was crucial for both U.S. military operations in the Middle East and for the defense of Washington’s mutually democratic ally in the region.
“The need to support our closest ally and our own forces in the region has never been more pressing,” Johnson wrote in a letter to his colleagues.
While wide bipartisan U.S. consensus on military aid to Israel exists, many Republican lawmakers are increasingly opposed to the U.S. Biden administration’s massive military aid to Ukraine. With the upcoming U.S. presidential election this November, there are also disagreements on the controversial domestic issue of boosting immigration enforcement at the long border between the United States and Mexico.
White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, accused House Republicans of using the issue of military aid to Israel as merely a political stunt, saying, “The security of Israel should be sacred, not a political game.”
The senior White House official also blasted the House Republicans for ignoring the needs of Ukrainians and Gazan civilians.
“We strongly oppose this ploy which does nothing to secure the [U.S.] border, does nothing to help the people of Ukraine defend themselves against Putin’s aggression, and denies humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians, the majority of them women and children, which the Israelis supported by opening the access route,” Jean-Pierre said.
In November, the House approved a $14.5 billion military aid package to Israel, which the Senate refused to bring on board. The House speaker has now urged quick passage of military aid to Israel by removing the offsets.
“During debate in the House and in numerous subsequent statements, Democrats made clear that their primary objection to the original House bill was with its offsets,” Johnson explained in his letter. “The Senate will no longer have excuses, however misguided, against swift passage of this critical support for our ally.”
The Biden administration has been generally supportive of Israel’s defensive war against the Iranian-backed terror organization Hamas. However, the White House has increasingly articulated concerns regarding the allegedly high number of civilian casualties in Gaza. Israel places blame on Hamas for its cynical use of civilians as human shields.
Recent unconfirmed reports claim that Washington has been trying to slow down the sale of weapons to Israel to reduce the level of military activity in the Gaza Strip. However, the White House rejected these reports.
The United States has provided the State of Israel with 15,000 bombs and 57,000 artillery shells since the Hamas attack on Oct. 7.
In late December, an Israeli official told ALL ISRAEL NEWS that more ammunition was crucial for securing an Israeli victory against Hamas.
“As we go into 2024, Israel needs three things to win – ammunition, ammunition and ammunition,” the unnamed official stated. “We need ammunition of all kinds, but the more precision-guided missiles we have, the faster we can win and the fewer civilian casualties we will incur.”
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.