South Asia and Beyond

US Approves More Arm Sales To Israel

 US Approves More Arm Sales To Israel

The US has authorised the transfer of billions of dollars of bombs and fighter jets to Israel as it publicly pushes Israel to not carry out a military offensive in Rafah, the Washington Post reported.

According to the newspaper, the arms package includes over 1,800 MK84 2,000-pound bombs and 500 MK82 500-pound bombs along with 25 F-35s that were initially approved as part of a larger package by the US Congress in 2008.

The package has come at a time when Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and the government have faced international criticism over a deadly offensive in Gaza in which over 32,000 people have died – mostly women and children.

*Recently, the Biden led administration in a bid to put pressure on Israel abstained from a vote on a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. This resulted in the Israeli PM cancelling his visit to Washington and saying that the US abandoned its policy in the UN.
There has been increasing pressure on Joe Biden from members of the Democratic Party to cut down military aid to Israel. Biden has acknowledged the pain felt by Arab Americans over the war in Gaza and over US support to Israel.

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Two weeks ago, a half-dozen Democratic senators sent a letter to Biden urging him to halt arms sales to Tel Aviv, because it is currently in violation of a 1961 law that prohibits arms sales to nations that obstruct the delivery of American aid.

“The United States should not provide military assistance to any country that interferes with US humanitarian assistance,” senators Bernie Sanders, Chris Van Hollen, Jeff Merkley, Mazie Hirono, Peter Welch, Tina Smith, Elizabeth Warren and Ben Ray Lujan wrote.

“Federal law is clear, and, given the urgency of the crisis in Gaza, and the repeated refusal of Prime Minister Netanyahu to address US concerns on this issue, immediate action is necessary to secure a change in policy by his government,” they added.