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Tom Nides assures US Senate he backs funding for Israel’s Iron Dome

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

A Israeli soldier takes cover as an Iron Dome air defense system launches to intercept a rocket from the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel, May 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
A Israeli soldier takes cover as an Iron Dome air defense system launches to intercept a rocket from the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel, May 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

US President Biden’s nominee for ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, assures the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he supports the replenishment of Israel’s Iron Dome a day after Democratic House leadership agreed to remove $1 billion in funding for the missile defense system from a bill to keep the United States government funded, following pressure from a group of progressive lawmakers.

Asked whether he supports Iron Dome replenishment, Nides responds curtly, “Yes sir.”

Pressed by Ranking Republican Member James Risch on his views regarding the Palestinian Authority’s welfare program, which includes payments to security prisoners, Nides says, “I share your concern about this abhorrent behavior.”

“If confirmed, I have every intention of working with the Palestinians to try and get progress on this,” he says.

Asked about the Biden administration’s efforts to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians, Nides reiterates what Biden said yesterday at the United Nations — while a two-state solution might not be achievable in the immediate future, it is critical to keep the pathway to that resolution open.

The US will work to do so, Nides says, by continuing to stress the importance of a two-state solution, restarting financial assistance to the Palestinians to the tune of roughly $400 million and also by “encourag[ing] Palestinians and Israelis not to take unilateral actions that will make path to two-state solution impossible.”

Nides adds that he will work to implement the Lowey Fund, $250 million in congressional funding for Israeli-Palestinian dialogue programs and Palestinian business development.

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