- The Washington Times - Friday, May 21, 2021

Senate Republicans introduced legislation Friday to redirect U.S. foreign aid from Gaza to Israel‘s Iron Dome, the anti-missile defense system that has destroyed thousands of rockets launched this month toward Jerusalem by Hamas.

The Emergency Resupply for Iron Dome Act would authorize the Biden administration to replenish the Iron Dome Weapon System, which uses radar to locate incoming rockets and destroys them by firing Tamir interceptors, each of which costs an estimated $100,000.

“My legislation requires the Biden administration to halt U.S. foreign assistance from going to Gaza and other Hamas-dominated areas and instead to redirect these resources to help Israel resupply its live-saving Iron Dome interceptors,” said Sen. Bill Hagerty, Tennessee Republican, the bill’s chief sponsor. “The United States should unequivocally support the right of Israel to defend itself from terrorists.”

Israel and Hamas, which control the Gaza Strip, entered into a ceasefire Friday after 11 days of fighting that has killed about 200 people, mostly in Gaza.

Also sponsoring the bill are Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida.

“Iranian-backed terrorists have launched thousands of rockets targeting innocent civilians in Israel. In addition, their hate for Israel has also resulted in misfires that have killed their own people in Gaza,” Mr. Rubio said. “Israel‘s Iron Dome has saved countless lives, and we should ensure that it is fully funded and Israel has what it needs to continue to defend itself.”

The Iron Dome has a reported 90% success rate in intercepting missiles. More than 4,000 rockets were fired at Israel by Hamas and other groups such as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, with hundreds falling short and landing in Gaza, according to Israeli authorities.

Mr. Cruz pressured President Biden to “swiftly replenish the Iron Dome missiles” and “lead with clarity on this issue and not moral relativism or appeasement.”

The Biden administration announced in April it would restore $200 million in cuts made by former President Trump to Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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