Israel offers conditional backing for inclusion of Gaza aid in US security package for Israel

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

US President Joe Biden speaks from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, October 19, 2023. (Jonathan Ernst/ Pool via AP)
US President Joe Biden speaks from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, October 19, 2023. (Jonathan Ernst/ Pool via AP)

Israel supports US President Joe Biden’s inclusion of humanitarian aid for Gaza in the $106 billion national security package that he presented to Congress last month to fund Washington’s security support for Israel and Ukraine, a senior Israeli official tells The Times of Israel.

However, the official clarifies that this support from Jerusalem is conditioned on the aid meeting specific criteria, which Israel is raising with US lawmakers who are currently working to advance the aid package.

These include differentiating between short-term, emergency assistance, which must be fully coordinated with Israel, and funding for rehabilitating Gaza after the war. Israel is also asking for post-war funding to include aid that will help bolster Egypt’s border with Gaza to ensure that the enclave is not re-militarized in a “post-Hamas Gaza,” according to the senior Israeli official.

The senior official’s comments are the first time that Israel has publicly weighed in on the aid package that Biden presented to Congress last month.

House Republicans rejected the proposal and advanced an alternative package that included the same $14 billion in security assistance for Israel but left out the $61 million for Ukraine, as well as the $9 billion in humanitarian aid. The Senate’s Democratic majority along with the White House have vowed not to pass the GOP version, which included massive cuts to the IRS, leading to an ongoing deadlock.

The senior Israeli official is careful not to weigh in on the debate between Democrats and Republicans but says Jerusalem is not opposed to US security aid for Israel being tied to aid for Ukraine.

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