Arms Sale to Israel: Congressional Leaders Stand Firm Amid White House Pressure

Arms Sale to Israel: Congressional Leaders Stand Firm Amid White House Pressure

The sale of 50 F-15 jet fighters to Israel has been approved by two major Congressional leaders in Congress, opening the way for a massive military deal that had been delayed because of worries over the thousands of civilians who have died in the Gaza battle.

One of the biggest arms deals with Israel in recent memory, the $18 billion deal occurs as officials in President Biden’s own party are pressing him to withhold US weapons to pressure Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to end the Gaza war. Additionally Israel is under pressure from the administration to reduce fighting along its northern border with Lebanon.

Congressional Leaders approval

Two of the four congressional leaders who approve significant arms deals, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D., N.Y.), the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Sen. Ben Cardin (D., Md.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had blocked the sale of the warplanes, which Congress was informed about earlier this year.

Spokesman for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Eric Harris stated “Any issues or concerns Chair Cardin had were addressed through our ongoing consultations with the Administration and that is why he felt it appropriate to allow this case to move forward.”

As per Netanyahu’s remarks on Tuesday, he told Secretary of State Antony Blinken that it’s impossible that in the past few months the administration has been withholding weapons and supplies to Israel when he was in Israel earlier in June.

Those with knowledge of the matter said that the White House put tremendous pressure on congressional leaders to adopt the arrangement which ultimately led to the decision. Legislative experts estimate that if the deal is formally approved, the F-15s would likely be delivered in around five years.

Meeks stated that he had “repeatedly urged the Administration to continue pushing Israel to make significant and concrete improvements on all fronts when it comes to humanitarian efforts and limiting civilian casualties.” He added that he had discussed the transaction with the White House.

The State Department can now formally notify Congress and move forward with the transaction after the congressional hold on the agreement is lifted. Both the State Department and the White House declined to comment.

During a recent visit to Israel, Netanyahu claimed Blinken informed him “that the administration is working day and night to remove these bottlenecks.” He remarked, “I really hope that’s the case.” “The case ought to be such.”

According to Palestinian sources, over 37,000 Palestinians have died in Gaza since the conflict began, the majority of them were civilians. The number does not indicate the number of combatants.

Since the start of the war, the United States has transferred tens of thousands of bombs, ammunition for tanks and artillery, precision weapons, and air defense technology to Israel frequently using $23 billion in previously authorized military shipments from Congress.

In May, the Biden administration put a stop to a shipment of weaponry that comprised 1,700 500-pound bombs and 1,800 2,000-pound bombs. At the time, the White House was pressuring Israel to desist from launching a full-scale attack on the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah.

At the time, the area was home to over a million Palestinian civilians seeking refuge. Since then, Israel continues to carry out the operation but according to American officials it has modified its strategy in response to worries expressed by the White House.

In May, the government moved alone to move forward with the possible delivery of weapons valued at over $1 billion, including trucks, mortar rounds and tank weapons for the Israeli military. In July Netanyahu is scheduled to speak before Congress.

I declare that I have had enough of the mindless bombing. I oppose using the kind of weapons Israel is forced to use in order to cause more deaths.

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