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Israel seeks $10 billion in Emergency funding from USA

Israel seeks $10 billion in Emergency funding from USA
Benjamin Netanyahu and Joe Biden in Jerusalem, on March 9, 2010.

In a surprising move, Israel has requested $10 billion in emergency funding from the United States, citing the need to bolster its defense capabilities and economic recovery amid rising regional tensions and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The request, which was made public on Tuesday, comes as the Biden administration is trying to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, a move that Israel strongly opposes and has threatened to take military action against. The deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was signed by Iran and six world powers, and aimed to limit Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

However, former President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 and reimposed harsh sanctions on Iran, prompting Iran to resume some of its nuclear activities that were restricted under the deal. The Biden administration has expressed its willingness to rejoin the deal if Iran returns to full compliance, but the two sides have not yet reached an agreement.

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Israel also faces growing challenges from Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, and Syria, where Iranian-backed militias have established a foothold. Israel considers Iran and its proxies as existential threats and has carried out hundreds of airstrikes against Iranian targets in Syria in recent years. Israel also accuses Iran of providing weapons and funding to Hezbollah and Hamas, which have launched rockets and missiles at Israeli territory on several occasions.

According to Israeli officials, the $10 billion would be used to purchase advanced weapons systems, such as the F-35 stealth fighter jet, the KC-46 aerial refueling tanker, and precision-guided munitions. The funds would also help Israel cope with the economic fallout of the pandemic, which has caused a sharp contraction in its GDP and a rise in unemployment and poverty.

The US is already Israel’s largest benefactor, providing $3.8 billion in annual military aid as part of a 10-year agreement signed in 2016. The emergency funding would be in addition to that amount and would require congressional approval. The US has previously granted Israel emergency aid in times of crisis, such as during the 1973 Yom Kippur War and the 1991 Gulf War.

The request has sparked mixed reactions in Washington, where some lawmakers have expressed support for Israel’s security needs, while others have questioned the timing and the rationale of the request.

Some critics have argued that Israel is trying to pressure the US into abandoning the Iran deal, or to compensate for its own mismanagement of the pandemic. Others have pointed out that Israel is one of the wealthiest countries in the region, and that the US should prioritize its own domestic needs amid the ongoing health and economic crisis.

The Biden administration has not yet responded to the request but has reiterated its commitment to Israel’s security and its support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The administration has also stressed the importance of diplomacy and dialogue with Iran and has urged Israel to refrain from any actions that could undermine the negotiations or escalate the situation.

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