iron dome - Reuters - April 4 2011
Iron Dome defense system protects Ashkelon. Photo by Reuters
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The Iron Dome missile defense system has proven its effectiveness, as it successfully intercepted nearly 60 rockets fired from within the Gaza Strip last week. U.S. Congressmen were also impressed by the performance, and Rep. Howard L. Berman, (D-Valley Village) - the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee - introduced the Iron Dome Support Act (IDSA) authorizing the President to provide assistance if requested by the Israeli government to procure additional Iron Dome anti-missile defense systems.

During the 2011 budget year, Congress approved 205 million dollars in funding for Iron Dome. Congressman Berman said: “When Palestinian terrorists launched their latest round of missile attacks on innocent Israelis, the Iron Dome anti-missile system saved innocent lives and prevented an escalation of hostilities and a full-blown crisis." He added that "Israel must have the ability to defend itself from rocket and missile attacks, and the United States will continue to stand by our strong ally if called upon in times of need."

The Iron Dome Support Act is still in initial stages of the legislation process. However, it has already won support from both parties. Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen,(R-FL) was one of the initial supporters of the bill, along with four other congressmen from both parties.

Israel is currently planning to set up a fourth Iron Dome system. Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren wrote in an opinion piece on the Politico website that "at least ten Iron Dome systems will be necessary in order to defend the whole country – for Israel, and for America as well, an investment in Iron Dome is an investment in diplomacy that helps create a conditions for peace."

Meanwhile, the House Foreign Affairs Committee has questioned continued funding for the Palestinian Authority, contrary to the position of the Obama administration. The administration believes that it is in Palestinian, Israeli, and American interests to continue funding the Palestinian Authority in order to stabilize the West Bank, and to improve the situation in Gaza.