Gaza’s Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Friday criticized the US decision to grant Israel $70 million in financial assistance for the Iron Dome anti-missile system, Israel Radio reported.
In a meeting with pro-Palestinian activists from Arab and Muslim countries, Haniyeh said “the US aid money encouraged Israel to commit war crimes.”
On Thursday Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with his US counterpart Leon Panetta in Washington DC and thanked President Barack Obama and the American government for supporting the Iron Dome short range rocket-defense system.
Panetta reiterated his country’s support for Israel and emphasized the importance of the Iron Dome system to Israel’s defensive capabilities.
“My goal is to ensure Israel has the funding it needs each year to produce these batteries that can protect its citizens,” said Panetta. “This is part of our rock solid commitment to Israel’s security and comes on top of approximately $3 billion in annual security assistance for Israel.”
“The US has already provided $205 million in assistance for that system [Iron Dome], and operational batteries have already proven effective in defending against rocket attacks on Israel earlier this year,” Panetta added.
Hamas has refrained from firing rockets and mortars at Israel in recent months and stood on the sidelines during an April heat up on the Israeli-Gazan border, during which Iron dome proved its worth successfully intercepting hundreds of rockets fired towards Israeli cities by Islamic Jihad terrorists.