Tuesday, May 28th, 2024

Biden administration starts process for US$1 billion arms deal with Israel


Two congressional sources confirmed that the Joe Biden administration has begun the early stages of the process of pursuing a new US$1 billion arms deal for Israel, CNN reported on Wednesday.

Following an informal notification on Tuesday, discussions have begun between the State Department and the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations committees regarding a potential sale.

Although no specific timeline has been set for official notification to Congress, the process has begun, speeding up the final approval process.

The move comes amid a temporary halt to shipments of 2,000-pound bombs and 500-pound bombs to Israel over concerns about their use in densely populated areas like Rafah, CNN reports.

The proposed arms deal, valued at US$1 billion, could include the transfer of US$700 million in tank ammunition, US$500 million in tactical vehicles and US$60 million in mortar rounds, according to a congressional order. The source has confirmed.

The Wall Street Journal initially reported on the administration’s discussions with Congress regarding this potential sale.

It is important to note that the weapons being discussed will not reach Israel immediately. The sale would require official notification to Congress and subsequent congressional approval, a process that could prove lengthy, especially if accompanied by objections from lawmakers.

While acknowledging the review of other arms shipments to Israel, US officials reiterated their commitment to ensuring that Israel’s military capability for self-defense remains intact. This stance suggests that long-term arms agreements will not be stopped at this time.

“We are continuing to send military aid, and we will ensure that Israel receives the full amount provided in the supplement. We have stopped a shipment of 2,000-pound bombs because we believe they should not be dropped in densely populated cities. We are talking to the Israeli government about this,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Monday.

The State Department avoided providing additional comments on the informal notification, deferring to Sullivan’s comments. The Pentagon similarly declined to comment on the matter, CNN reported.



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