Biden administration to send $1 billion in arms to Israel amid Rafah tensions

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Biden administration to send $1 billion in arms to Israel amid Rafah tensions

According to three congressional associates on Tuesday, the Biden administration has informed important members that it will provide Israel with more than $1 billion worth of extra weapons and ammunition. However, the delivery schedule for the weaponry was not immediately known.

This is the first known arms sale to Israel since the government halted the shipping of 3,500 bombs weighing up to 2,000 pounds apiece earlier this month. The Biden administration stated that it had halted the bomb supply in order to prevent Israel from utilizing those specific weapons in its offensive in the heavily populated southern Gaza city of Rafah, citing concern about civilian fatalities in Gaza.

According to the congressional aides, the package revealed on Tuesday included roughly $700 million for tank ammo, $500 million for tactical vehicles, and $60 million for mortar rounds. They discussed an armaments shipment that has not yet been made public while speaking under the condition of anonymity.

When the arms would be sent was not immediately apparent. The shipment, according to two congressional officials, is not included in the much-delayed package of foreign aid that Congress approved and President Biden signed last month. It was unclear whether the package was something new or the most recent installment from an ongoing armaments trade.

House Republicans and Democrats clash over Biden’s proposed arms aid to Israel

While running for reelection against former President Donald Trump, the Biden administration has drawn criticism from both political parties for its military support of Israel's now seven-month-old battle against Hamas in Gaza.

In an effort to put additional pressure on the American ally to take greater action to safeguard Palestinian civilians, Biden's fellow Democrats have pressed him to restrict the shipment of offensive weaponry to Israel. This spring, demonstrations on American college campuses have emphasized the point.

Republicans in Congress have seized upon the administration's decision to halt the transfer of bombs, arguing that any reduction in US backing for Israel, the US's closest Middle East partner, would impede Israel's ability to combat Hamas and other organizations with Iranian backing. This week, a bill to require the delivery of offensive weapons to Israel will be advanced in the House.

Israel is the biggest beneficiary of U.S. military aid, and Biden and administration officials have stated that they will continue to supply weapons and provide other military support to the country despite the temporary delay of a bomb shipment. National security spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Monday that Biden would make sure "Israel has all of the military means it needs to defend itself against all of its enemies, including Hamas." For him, this is pretty simple: he will continue to give Israel all the capabilities it requires, but he will not allow specific American weaponry to be used in a certain kind of operation in a specific location. And once more, he has been unambiguous and consistent about that.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said this week, "We strongly, strongly oppose attempts to constrain the President's ability to deploy U.S. security assistance consistent with U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives." She also stated that the administration intends to use "every last cent" appropriated by Congress in the national security supplemental package that Biden signed into law last month.