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Hamas, Islamic Jihad censure US as accomplice to Israeli occupation for funding regime’s Iron Dome

Israel’s Iron Dome system (L) intercepts rockets fired toward the Israeli-occupied territories from the Gaza Strip on May 14, 2021. (File photo by AFP)

Gaza-based Palestinian resistance groups, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, have denounced the US House’s approval of funding for Israel’s Iron Dome system in spite of the regime’s continued aggression against Palestinians.

In a statement on Friday, Hamas spokesman Abdul Latif al-Qanoa said the US House’s approval of $1 billion in new funding for the Israeli regime’s Iron Dome system highlights the United States’ bias in favor of the Israeli occupation and against the Palestinian people.

“By providing such financial assistance, the US becomes a partner of the Israeli occupation and kills the Palestinian people’s aspirations for freedom and independence,” he said.

The spokesman noted that the continued US support to equip the Israeli regime with high-tech weapons will never legitimize its occupation of Palestine.

“Finally, we call on the Palestinian Authority not to count on the US administration and take serious positions against the US bias towards the Israeli occupation,” he added.

Islamic Jihad spokesman Daoud Shehab said the US House’s decision demonstrates Washington's support for Israel and is a defeat for those who looked forward to real change in the US government’s policy on the Palestinian issue.

“What the United States is doing is against the principles of justice,” Shehab told the Turkish Anadolu news agency.

The US House of Representatives on Thursday overwhelmingly voted to give $1 billion to Israel for its so-called Iron Dome missile system.

In a 420 to 9 vote, the House passed the measure which was then sent to the Senate. Eight Democrats and one Republican voted against the measure.

The United States began financially supporting Israel’s development of the Iron Dome system about a decade ago and has provided the regime with huge financial support for its production and maintenance.

“Thank you to the members of the US House of Representatives, Democrats and Republicans alike, for the sweeping support for Israel and commitment to its security,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement.

“Those who try to challenge this support received a timeless answer,” Bennett said, in a veiled reference to a number of House progressives who objected to the provision’s inclusion in an earlier broad spending bill.

‘Iron Dome enables Israel to keep on bombing Palestinians’

Khaled Elgindy, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, argued in an article that while the Iron Dome may have saved Israeli lives, it may actually have done the opposite of saving Palestinian lives or minimizing the scale of destruction on the Palestinian side.

“One of the standard arguments advanced in recent days is that Iron Dome is crucial not only for saving Israeli lives but is equally important (perhaps even more so) for saving Palestinian lives. This claim has been echoed by numerous American and Israeli analysts and even Members of Congress, and seems to have been accepted by a number of journalists as well,” he wrote.

However, referring to the available data, particularly casualty figures from previous conflicts, Elgindy maintained that “while Iron Dome may have saved Israeli lives, there is no evidence that it has done anything to save Palestinian lives or minimize the scale of destruction on the Palestinian side — and it may actually have done the opposite.”

The author of ‘Blind Spot: America and the Palestinians, from Balfour to Trump’ said the claim that the Iron Dome also saves Palestinian lives seems to be grounded in the widely held belief that fewer Israelis killed would ultimately lead Israel to kill fewer Palestinians.

“But this is not at all the case,” he stated, hinting at Israel’s 2014 war on Gaza, which lasted 48 days when only 6 Israeli settlers were killed compared to 1,694 Palestinians.

“By contrast, a strong case can be made that by minimizing Israeli casualties and economic disruption, Iron Dome essentially provides Israel a ‘cushion’ that enables it to keep on bombing until its leaders are satisfied they’ve achieved their military objectives — the highly subjective and ever-elusive aim of ‘restoring its deterrent,’” Elgindy added.

In his article, Elgindy also questioned whether the Iron Dome, which is used in the service of maintaining Israel’s occupation or its ongoing blockade of Gaza, can qualify as “defensive.”

He concluded that “regardless of where one stands on the current controversy, there is simply no evidence to support the claim that Iron Dome saves Palestinian lives or even mitigates violence. In reality, it is more likely to have cost Palestinian lives by deepening an already vastly asymmetrical conflict and extending Israel’s ability to defer a political settlement indefinitely.”

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