President Biden promised to “replenish” Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system in a short speech that was delivered Thursday after Israel and Hamas agreed on an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire in Gaza that came into effect early Friday morning.
Under the current military assistance agreement with Israel, Washington will provide Israel with $38 billion in aid from the 2019 fiscal year to the 2029 fiscal year. Of that $38 billion, $5 billion is allocated for missile defense systems, including the Iron Dome.
Over the 11-day Israeli bombardment, thousands of rockets were fired out of Gaza. The Israelis said the Iron Dome intercepted most rockets, but the projectiles fired out of the besieged enclave are crude compared to the bombs Israel was dropping on Gaza, and some question the real ability of the Iron Dome and how it would stand up to advanced missiles.
“The Prime Minister also shared with me his appreciation for the Iron Dome system, which our nations developed together,” Biden said. “I assured him of my full support to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome system to ensure its defenses and security in the future.”
Biden also reiterated that the US “fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself.” He mentioned that these “hostilities” resulted in the death of “many civilians, including children,” but offered no condemnation of Israeli airstrikes against civilians, which killed far more people than the rocket fired from Gaza.
At least 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, have been killed in the Israeli bombardment that began last Monday. In Israel, at least 12 people were killed by rocket fire from Gaza, including two children.
Demonstrating the brutality of Israel’s air raids, the Norwegian Refugee Council said that 11 Palestinian children who were receiving trauma counseling from the charity were killed by Israeli airstrikes while sheltering in their homes.
The Israeli bombing campaign decimated Gaza’s already crumbling civilian infrastructure. According to Al Jazeera, the Government Media Office in Gaza said the material losses the besieged enclave has suffered during Israel’s latest offensive amounts to more than $322 million. At least 184 residential towers, houses, and 33 media centers have been destroyed. More than 1,335 housing units were entirely or severely demolished.