Biden is sending Israel another $1 billion in weapons

Biden is sending Israel another $1 billion in weapons
Fecha de publicación: 
15 May 2024
Imagen principal: 

Congressional aides say that the Biden administration will send Israel another $1 billion in weapons and ammunition. The package includes roughly $700 million for tank ammunition, $500 million for tactical vehicles, and $60 million in mortar rounds.

The move comes amid rising tensions over a potential military invasion of Rafah, a town in Southern Gaza.

The story was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

This is the first arms shipment The White House has announced since it paused a shipment of 2,000-pound bombs to Israel last week. In an interview with CNN Biden admitted that  “Civilians have been killed in Gaza as a consequence of those bombs.”

Biden faced backlash from both sides of the aisle over his decision. GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson accused Biden of “trying to dictate … and micromanage the war” and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump claimed the President was “taking the side of these terrorists.”

Twenty-six House Democrats sent an open letter to the administration criticizing the move. “We are deeply concerned about the message the Administration is sending to Hamas and other Iranian-backed terrorist proxies by withholding weapons shipments to Israel, during a critical moment in the negotiations,” it reads. “With democracy under assault around the world, we cannot undermine our ally Israel, especially in her greatest hour of need. America’s commitments must always be ironclad.”

This week, Republicans are expected to advance a House bill that would mandate the delivery of offensive weapons to Israel. It’s unlikely that such legislation could pass the Senate and Biden has already indicated he’d veto it, but some pro-Israel Democrats have indicated they would still vote for it.

“I have a general rule of supporting pro-Israel legislation unless it includes a poison pill — like cuts to domestic policy,” said Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY).

Just days ago the State Department released a report concluding that it was “reasonable to assess” Israel had used U.S. weapons ways that were “inconsistent” with international law, but credited the country for allegedly investigating these incidents.

“We still believe it is — would be a mistake to launch a major military operation into the heart of Rafah that would put huge numbers of civilians at risk without a clear strategic gain,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Monday. “The President was clear that he would not supply certain offensive weapons for such an operation, were it to occur.  It has not yet occurred.  And we are still working with Israel on a better way to ensure the defeat of Hamas everywhere in Gaza, including in Rafah.  This has been the subject of detailed conversations between our professionals, and I discussed this again with my Israeli counterpart just yesterday.”

It’s currently unclear as to when the additional weapons will be sent. Aides said the shipment was not part of last month’s massive foreign aid package, which means it will have to go through the usual congressional process.

Israel has killed more than 35,000 people since the country began its assault on Gaza last October.

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