‘Funding for Weapons and War’ – Biden Signs Budget Bill into Law

Palestinian American Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. (Photo: Democracy Now, video grab)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

“It’s disturbing that many of my colleagues in this chamber are actively profiting financially when they vote to pass more funding for weapons and war.” Rashida Tlaib, Congresswoman

US President Joe Biden has signed a $1.2 trillion budget bill, ending the threat of a partial government shutdown, but also halting funding to the UN Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) until March 2025.

The bill was signed on Saturday, only hours after the US Congress approved it following a last-minute consensus.

“The bipartisan funding bill I just signed keeps the government open, invests in the American people, and strengthens our economy and national security,” Biden said in a statement on Saturday.

The agreement reached on the budget bill “represents a compromise, which means neither side got everything it wanted,” he added.

US to Suspend UNRWA Funding until March 2025 – Reports

The bill provides $886 billion in funding for the Defense Department, including a raise for US troops, Reuters reported.

It does not include funding “for mostly military aid to Ukraine, Taiwan or Israel, which are included in a different Senate-passed bill that the Republican-led House of Representatives has ignored,” the report added.

The budget bill was approved with 74 votes in favor and 24 against.

Praise from Israel

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz on Saturday praised the bill, saying UNRWA “can not be part of the solution.”

“The historic ban on US funding to UNRWA that passed today with an overwhelming bipartisan support, demonstrates what we knew all along: UNRWA is part of the problem and can not be part of the solution,” Katz wrote on X.

In a speech on the House floor on Thursday when the bill was introduced, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib reportedly accused Israel of committing “some of the most horrific crimes against humanity” in this century.

“The Israeli government has been intentionally starving the Palestinian people,” she said.

“It’s disturbing that many of my colleagues in this chamber are actively profiting financially when they vote to pass more funding for weapons and war,” Tlaib said. “Literally every bomb dropped makes them money.”

The bill, now signed into law, comes at a time when senior UN officials have warned of imminent famine in the besieged Gaza Strip, urging immediate action to avert a humanitarian disaster.

Millions Lost in Funding

UNRWA lost millions in funding at the end of January, after dozens of countries, led by the US, suspended its financial support following allegations by Israel that some of its employees were involved in the October 7 resistance operation. Israel has yet to provide evidence for its claims.

The agency’s commissioner-general, Philippe Lazzarini, said on Saturday that Israel blocked all food convoys from entering the northern Gaza Strip this week.

Following ICJ Ruling, Washington Suspends UNRWA Funding

“All our food convoys have been denied access to North Gaza this week. With unimpeded access this man made starvation can still be averted,”  Lazzarini said on X.

At least 15 children have died from malnutrition and dehydration at the Kamal Adwan Hospital, according to Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza.

Over 32,200 Killed

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 32,226 Palestinians have been killed, and 74,518 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

GAZA LIVE BLOG: More Hospitals under Attack | Israeli Soldiers Killed in Gaza | Israel Waits Response from Hamas – Day 170

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire.’

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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1 Comment

  1. Israeli Foreign Minister Katz should worry that Israel may one day be seen by the great majority of the world’s states as the part of the problem which cannot be part of the solution. And that support of Israel along with insane “Wars on/of Terror” have diminished the United States to little more than a paper tiger.

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