Washington Reaction To Iran's Attack On Israel

Iran’s unprecedented direct attack on Israel Saturday night has reinvigorated U.S. support for Israel at a time when the alliance was showing strains and as concern was growing over a long-promised aid package that Congress has been unable to get to the president’s desk.

Monday, April 15th 2024, 7:59 pm



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Iran’s unprecedented direct attack on Israel Saturday night has reinvigorated U.S. support for Israel at a time when the alliance was showing strains and as concern was growing over a long-promised aid package that Congress has been unable to get to the president’s desk.

More than six months since Hamas’s surprise Oct. 7 attack brought pledges of financial and military support from vast majorities on both sides of the aisle, $14 billion in proposed aid still has yet to be approved.

Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole says that is about to change.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that Congress is going to act in some meaningful way to help people in Israel,” said Cole (R-OK4) in an interview Monday.

But late Monday morning, Rep. Cole said House leadership was still deciding what form an aid package would take.

“Do we have an Israel-only package? Do we go ahead and move the larger supplemental?” Cole hypothesized. “That decision is probably being made literally as we are talking.”

The defeat of nearly all of the more than 300 missiles and drones Iran launched at Israel late Saturday — many brought down by American forces — helped offset some of the criticism the administration has leveled at Israeli leaders recently for its handling of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

“The United States is committed to Israel’s security,” Biden said Monday at the White House.

Iran’s barrage also added a sense of urgency to Congress’s handling of foreign aid legislation — Democrats and many Republicans believing the House should immediately take up the $95 billion package passed by the Senate in February, which includes $60 billion for Ukraine.

“The best way to help Israel replenish its anti-missile and a to-drone capacity,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), “is to pass the security supplemental.”

As Israel contemplates a response to Iran's attack, the Biden administration made clear that it will defend Israel, but will not participate in any offensive retaliation against Iran at this point.

“In the 36 hours since,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken, “we have been coordinating a diplomatic response, to seek to prevent escalation.”

Some in the Oklahoma delegation disagree with that decision. 

“I don’t think we should ever say something like that or take that off the table,” said Cole, “so I disagree very strongly with the President.”

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