| 12 April 2024, Friday |

US lawmakers call on Israel to stop blocking Iron Dome transfer to Ukraine

Recently, two prominent US legislators urged Israel to remove its veto on the transfer of Iron Dome missile defense systems to Ukraine. It is important to note that any potential sale of Iron Dome, a collaborative project between Israel and the United States, necessitates approval from both nations prior to entering into an agreement with a third party.
Senators Lindsey Graham, a Republican, and Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat, wrote a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee urging the Committee to support Ukraine’s air defense by facilitating the transfer of additional US air defense assets to Ukraine.

Washington has provided Ukraine with equipment and munitions for the highly sought-after Patriot as well as HAWK air-defense systems. “There is more we can and should provide,” the senators wrote in their letter.

Citing testimony from Army Space and Missile Defense Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Daniel Karbler, the senators said the US currently has two Iron Dome batteries. One is ready for deployment, while the other is near being prepared.

“So, the army does have one [Iron Dome battery] available for deployment if we get a request,” Lt. Gen. Karbler said during his May 9 testimony.

The senators wrote that each Iron Dome battery could protect an area of approximately 150 square kilometers.

“We can save more Ukrainian lives today if we transfer those batteries. However, due to serious concerns, the Government of Israel has blocked the United States from transferring these batteries,” they said.

They added that they were not asking Israel to transfer its own Iron Dome systems “but simply to allow the United States to transfer our own batteries to help the people of Ukraine.”

Graham and Van Hollen said that if Israel continued to refuse, the US should look to move their Iron Dome systems to another US ally under the control and supervision of its own forces, “thus freeing up other United States air defense assets to be transferred to bolster Ukraine’s air defense needs and save more Ukrainian lives.”

Graham is a staunch supporter of US support for Israel and was recently in the country on a visit, where he tried to further advance Israel’s wishes for normalization with Saudi Arabia.

US company Raytheon and Israeli-based Rafael formed a joint venture in 2020 to build the Iron Dome missile defense system in the US.

With Ukraine needing to defend its skies against Russian forces, the US and other Western countries have moved to supply billions of dollars of weapons, including air defense systems, to Kyiv since Russia further invaded in February 2022.

While Ukraine has requested Israeli help, the latter has hesitated so as not to rupture ties with Moscow. Israel and Russia have an understanding as it pertains to the war in Syria, where Israeli jets routinely conduct airstrikes against Iran-backed targets inside Syria.

  • alarabiya