Obama signs bill giving Israel $225 million for missile defense system

This post has been updated. 

President Obama on Monday signed a bill that will give Israel $225 million to restock its Iron Dome missile defense system.

The House voted 395-8 to pass the bill Friday night.

The missile shield system was developed jointly by the United States and Israel and is said to have intercepted dozens of rockets fired from Gaza during the conflict that began July 17.  The system uses advanced tracking technology to determine if a rocket is headed for a population center; if it is it destroys the rocket mid-flight.

Israel and Hamas agreed late Monday to an Egyptian-sponsored 72-hour cease fire.

At a news conference Friday, Obama underscored Israel's right to defend itself and noted American support for the Iron Dome.

"And so, not only have we been supportive of Israel in its right to defend itself, but in very concrete terms -- for example, in support for the Iron Dome program that has intercepted rockets that are firing down on Israeli cities -- we've been trying to cooperate as much as we can to make sure that Israel is able to protect its citizens," Obama said.

President Obama signs "H.J. Res. 76," a bill that provides an additional $225 million in U.S. taxpayer dollars for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system, in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

An Israeli airstrike Sunday killed 10 people outside a U.N. school in Gaza, prompting some of the harshest American criticism of Israel since the conflict began.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement that “the United States is appalled by today’s disgraceful shelling” and urged Israel to do more to “avoid civilian casualties” and to protect U.N. facilities.

Before the cease-fire announcement Monday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the United States continues to push for a cease-fire and that it has expressed its concerns about the Israeli military living up "to their own standards" about protecting civilians.

"We do continue to believe that the violence in Gaza should end as soon as possible," Earnest said. 

Katie Zezima is a national political correspondent covering the 2016 presidential election. She previously served as a White House correspondent for The Post.



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