US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will support legislation to provide Israel with an additional $1 billion in funding for Iron Dome, after receiving assurances from Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that Congress will bankroll additional humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip, Times of Israel reported on Thursday.
The agreement between Sanders and Schumer, first published by Jewish Currents, was reached after Sanders sent a letter to the majority leader late last month in which he wrote, “For us to provide an additional billion dollars in aid to Israel while ignoring the suffering of people in Gaza would be unconscionable and irresponsible.”
Sanders clarified in the letter that he supports Iron Dome, but also noted that the $1 billion in funding is on top of the $3.8 billion that Israel already receives from the US as part of the security aid package signed brokered during the Obama administration.
Sanders urged Schumer to advance the same amount of funding for Gaza, pointing out that Israeli air raids during the recent round of fighting left over 1,000 homes destroyed, according to Times of Israel.
The House of Representatives two weeks ago overwhelmingly approved the Iron Dome funding bill by a vote of 420-9.
The bill was introduced after far-left Democratic Congressmen got a provision providing $1 billion for resupply of Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system removed from an emergency government funding bill.
Earlier this week, Republican Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky blocked a Senate effort to fast-track the Iron Dome bill.
Paul, who has blocked US military aid to Israel in the past, argues that the Iron Dome funding should come from proposed assistance to Afghanistan.
Sanders, who is Jewish, has a history of anti-Israel statements. In the past, Sanders said that the United States should be able to determine how Israel uses the aid it gives to the state, and should restrict aid in response to moves that would undermine the peace process.
In 2019, Sanders caused an uproar when he told the J Street conference that the US should redirect its aid to Israel and give it to Gaza instead.