The Biden administration has approved a $735 million arms deal with Israel while Israel and Palestine continue their deadly conflict in Gaza.
The Biden administration notified Congress of a proposed sale of precision-guided weapons on May 5, according to two sources familiar with the notification.
The arms deal, which had been approved before the outbreak of violence in Gaza between Hamas and the Israeli government, is now being reviewed by Congress as progressive Democrats grow concerned over the Biden administration’s support of Israel.
Israel has been the largest recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. In 2016, the two countries signed an agreement that the U.S. would provide $38 billion in military aid to Israel from 2019 to 2028.
Congress has 15 days to review the proposed sale before its finalized. The Washington Post was the first to report that the White House notified Congress of the proposed sale.
According to sources familiar with the matter, the sale is unlikely to be stopped by Congress because of the sale’s expedited congressional review process. Ordinarily, Congress has a 30-day review process. With only four days left in the review process, and a requirement for the committees of jurisdiction to act to block the bill, sources say there’s no chance Congress will stop the sale.
There are expedited review processes for arms sales to NATO and its member states, Japan, South Korea, Israel, Australia and New Zealand, according to the Pentagon.
Israel has purchased precision-guided weapons from the U.S. in the past, and it is believed that those weapons are currently being used on Gaza, according to two sources familiar with the sale. This sale is part of routine support to Israel and did not come about due to the growing violence in the region, the sources added.
Despite Democrats pushing for Biden to call a ceasefire, the President and his officials have consistently asserted that Israel has the right to defend itself.
More than 25 Democratic senators, lead by Sen. Jon Ossoff of Georgia, released a joint statement calling for an immediate ceasefire in Israel and the Palestine territories to “prevent further loss of life and further escalation of violence.”
Israeli airstrikes have killed at least 212 people in Gaza, including 61 children, and injuring 1,400 others, the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said Monday. Sunday was the deadliest day yet, with more than 50 killed, according to the ministry.
Rocket fire from Gaza has killed at least 10 people in Israel, including two children, according to Israel Defense Forces. On Monday, more attacks were launched from Gaza with at least one residential building in Ashdod hit, the Israel Defense forces said. Three people were slightly injured, the Israeli Red Cross said.
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