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The US Senate at the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. (Photo: Scrumshus, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

The funding allocated to Israel reportedly provides more than $5 billion to replenish the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Iron Beam defense systems.

The US Senate approved a $95 billion aid package for Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan on Tuesday, with a bipartisan majority backing the measure. The final vote stood at 80 to 19, the New York Times reported.

According to the paper, “in order to steer around opposition from right-wing Republicans in the House, Speaker Mike Johnson (..) used a convoluted plan to pass it over the weekend”.

The aid package was broken into three parts for each of the countries and a fourth bill was added, including “a new round of sanctions on Iran and a measure to require the sale of TikTok by its Chinese owner or ban it in the United States”.

The legislation allocates $60.8 billion to Ukraine, $26.3 billion for Israel, and $8.1 billion for Taiwan.

Aid to Israel

The funding allocated to Israel reportedly provides more than $5 billion to replenish the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Iron Beam defense systems. An additional $2.4 billion is “directed to current US military operations in the region,” the NYT reported.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz welcomed the funding allocated to his country, stating that it sends a strong message to Israel’s adversaries.

The package was approved at the US House of Representatives on Saturday, by a 366-58 margin, with 37 Democrats and 21 Republicans voting against it. 

According to a report by the Council on Foreign Relations, “since October 7, the Biden administration has reportedly made more than one hundred military aid transfers to Israel, although only two—totalling about $250 million—have met the (…) congressional review threshold and been made public.”

“The extraordinary flow of aid has included tank and artillery ammunition, bombs, rockets, and small arms,” the report continued.

TikTok Ban

To garner Republican support, the House added a provision to block TikTok in the US unless its Chinese parent company Bytedance sells it to a non-Chinese owner within a year.

According to a report published by the Wall Street Journal last month, one of the reasons behind the renewed urgency to pass the bill could be attributed to Washington’s concerns about the way TikTok users interact with content regarding the Israeli genocide in Gaza.

“When lawmakers went public (…) with their plans, the broad support for the bill caught TikTok by surprise,” WSJ reported.

Helbert explained that Israel’s war on Gaza was a turning point in this swift change of attitude. 

“It was slow going until Oct. 7. The attack that day in Israel by Hamas and the ensuing conflict in Gaza became a turning point in the push against TikTok,” Helberg was quoted by the WSJ as saying.

“People who historically hadn’t taken a position on TikTok became concerned with how Israel was portrayed in the videos and what they saw as an increase in antisemitic content posted to the app,” Helberg reportedly added.

The WSJ also reported that Anthony Goldbloom, a San Francisco-based data scientist, and tech executive, “started analyzing data TikTok published in its dashboard for ad buyers showing the number of times users watched videos with certain hashtags”.

“He found far more views for videos with pro-Palestinian hashtags than those with pro-Israel hashtags. While the ratio fluctuated, he found that at times it ran 69 to 1 in favor of videos with pro-Palestinian hashtags,” the WSJ noted.

Recent polls have found wide disapproval of US President Joe Biden over his handling of the war in Gaza and that the majority of voters who backed him in 2020 oppose weapons shipments to Israel.

Gaza Genocide

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7. 

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 34,183 Palestinians have been killed, and 77,143 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip. 

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children. 

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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