[paying the Gaza bill] We will work with the Congress to provide $1bn to Iron Dome, US official says

Israel's Iron Dome rocket intercept system (Ahmada Gharabli - AFP)

Middle East Monitor  /  August 26, 2021

US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin yesterday pledged to work with Congress to provide $1 billion to Israel’s Iron Dome defence system, The Times of Israel reported.

“We are working closely with Congress to provide all the necessary information to respond positively to your request to provide $1 billion in emergency funding. And it’s going to save more innocent lives,” Austin told Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Austin said: “The Department of Defense is also committed to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge, and to ensur[ing] that Israel can defend itself against threats from Iran, its proxies, and terrorist groups.”

“Iran must be held accountable for acts of aggression in the Middle East and on international waters,” referring to the attack on Mercer Street tanker off the Omani coast.

“US is committed to strengthening its strategic relationship with Israel,” he said, “the administration is committed to Israel’s security and its right to self-defense.”

When asked about the ten-year memorandum of understanding worth $3.8 billion in defence aid annually that was signed during the Obama administration, he said: “That is unwavering. It is steadfast.”