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July 23, 2020 9:36 am

US House Votes to Maintain Security Aid to Israel

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The US Capitol building exterior is seen at sunset as members of the Senate participate in the first day of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in Washington, US, January 21, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger. – The US House of Representatives passed a $740.5 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2021 on Tuesday that includes the continuation of American assistance to Israel for missile-defense programs and other initiatives.

The Pentagon blueprint for the upcoming year allocates $500 million towards missile-defense systems in Israel such as the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow 3 in accordance with the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding, or MOU, between the United States and Israel worth $38 billion over a decade.

The NDAA would continue the grant program on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) research between the United States and Israel.

There are no conditions on US military assistance to Israel, despite a number of Democrats and organizations that have called for conditioning US assistance to the Jewish state in response to its plans to apply sovereignty to parts of the West Bank, also known as Judea and Samaria.

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The measure also expresses support for the continuation of US support and participation in the Multinational Force and Observers in Egypt, which was established in 1981 to enforce the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty.

Differences exist between the House NDAA and that of the US Senate, which is also worth $740.5 billion and has yet to be passed by the full upper chamber.

Whereas the House version simply expresses support for continuing the US presence in the MFO, the Senate version, which passed the upper chamber’s Armed Services Committee last month, would require the US secretary of defense to inform Congress 30 days prior to reducing the number of US Armed Forces deployed to the MFO to fewer than 430 members. This comes amid recent reports that the Pentagon is seeking to reduce some of its members from the peacekeeping force.

The Senate NDAA would also allow the US Air Force to keep six F-35 fighter jets that were slated to be sent to Turkey, but canceled after Ankara instead acquired the Russian S-400 missile system last year. As a result, the United States booted Turkey last year from the F-35 program.

The House version simply requires the secretary of defense to submit documentation regarding how contractors in the F-35 program will be economically affected and be able to fulfill their production requirements in the aircraft program due to Turkey’s ejection from it.

The House NDAA, which must match the yet-to-be-passed version by the Senate, will need an appropriations bill to fund it.

US President Donald Trump has threatened to veto any NDAA that requires the Pentagon to rename US bases named after Confederate generals.

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