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December 12, 2019 10:41 am

House Passes Measure Giving $500 Million in Aid to Israel; Sanctions Iran and Assad

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The US Capitol Building. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – The US House of Representatives passed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Thursday, which includes $500 million in security assistance to Israel, in addition to sanctioning President Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria, and its allies Iran and Russia.

The $738 billion measure will head to the US Senate.

US President Donald Trump is expected to sign it; a subsequent appropriations bill will be needed to fund it.

The US assistance authorizes cooperation with Israel on counter-tunnel and counter-aerial capabilities, and $500 million for developing and procuring the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow weapon systems.

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On sanctioning actors in the Syrian civil war, “The Syrian people have waited too long for relief from Assad’s brutality. This legislation that we’ve been trying to get across the finish line for years could provide some measure of that relief,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) told The Washington Post.

“The world’s collective failure to act over eight years of violence is a black mark on history,” said Engel. ”Nothing can undo the suffering and loss of hundreds of thousands of lives, but we need to do all we can to make it right.”

The NDAA also still prohibits the transfer of the F-35 fighter jet to Turkey for purchasing earlier this year the Russian S-400 missile-defense system.

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