WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Washington has funneled more than $1 billion toward three missile defense systems under development in Israel, a U.S. lawmaker said.
An appropriations defense subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives on July 27 appropriated $217 million in funding to help develop a joint missile defense system with Israel. The appropriation is $95.7 million more than requested, notes U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman, D-N.J.
Rothman said the funding "sent a strong message -- to our allies and enemies alike -- by appropriating more funds than ever before toward joint U.S.-Israel and Israeli missile defense programs."
Rothman notes that the House subcommittee since 2007 appropriated $750 million for the Arrow and David's Sling anti-missile systems and $205 million toward Israel's Iron Dome program in 2010.
Iron Dome is designed to combat short-range missile threats from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, specifically rockets and artillery shells of which Hamas and the Hezbollah have fired thousands at Israel in the past.
First deployment will be along the border of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip from where homemade rockets are fired daily into Israel.
After deployment along the Gaza border, it will be used along the Lebanese border, where the Israeli government says Hezbollah has an inventory of more than 40,000 rockets ready to be fired at Israel.
"The growing proliferation and increasing deadliness of missiles around the world pose a direct threat to the U.S. and our allies, making funding missile defense systems vitally important for America's national security," said Rothman in a statement posted on his Web site.