Biden has approved 100+ arms sales to Israel in just 5 months

The Biden administration has approved more than 100 separate weapons sales to the Israeli government since its massive assault on the Gaza Strip began five months ago, transfers that did not require congressional notification because they were each below a certain dollar amount.

The Washington Postreported Wednesday that the sales, which were disclosed to lawmakers during a recent classified briefing, included “thousands of precision-guided munitions, small diameter bombs, bunker busters, small arms, and other lethal aid.”

“Only two approved foreign military sales to Israel have been made public since the start of conflict: $106 million worth of tank ammunition and $147.5 million of components needed to make 155 mm shells,” the Post added. “Those sales invited public scrutiny because the Biden administration bypassed Congress to approve the packages by invoking an emergency authority.”

Jeremy Konyndyk, a former senior Biden administration official and the current president of Refugees International, told the newspaper that the number of sales the administration has approved over such a short period of time is “extraordinary” and “suggests that the Israeli campaign would not be sustainable without this level of U.S. support.”

“The U.S. cannot maintain that, on the one hand, Israel is a sovereign state that’s making its own decisions and we’re not going to second guess them, and, on the other hand, transfer this level of armament in such a short time and somehow act as if we are not directly involved,” Konyndyk added.

“Weapons to a government starving and displacing millions of civilians. Weapons to an army that has killed 25,000 women and children.”

News of the secretive arms sales comes as human rights advocates and progressive lawmakers such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are pressuring the Biden administration to cut off all military aid to Israel, pointing to U.S. law and White House policy barring the transfer of weapons to human rights violators.

Under the Foreign Assistance Act, the U.S. cannot provide aid to a country that “prohibits or otherwise restricts, directly or indirectly, the transport or delivery of United States humanitarian assistance.”

U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller admitted during a press briefing on Tuesday that Israeli government ministers have blocked “the release of flour” and other aid into Gaza as much of the territory’s population faces the imminent risk of famine—and as children die of starvation.

Yonah Lieberman, co-founder of the progressive Jewish advocacy group IfNotNow, noted that the Post‘s reporting shows the Biden administration has on average approved one arms sale to Israel every 36 hours since October 7, when Israel launched its large-scale assault on Gaza following a deadly Hamas-led attack.

“Weapons to a government starving and displacing millions of civilians. Weapons to an army that has killed 25,000 women and children,” Lieberman wrote. “This is unconscionable. When people ask, ‘What do you want Joe Biden to do?’ the answer is: Stop making these weapons deals.”

From Common Dreams.