NewsBiden administration proceeds $1 billion in military equipment for Israel

Biden administration proceeds $1 billion in military equipment for Israel

WASHINGTON, DC  May 14, 2024

(Photo by Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC May 14, 2024 (Photo by Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Images source: © GETTY | The Washington Post

5:37 AM EDT, May 15, 2024, updated: 8:29 AM EDT, May 19, 2024

Despite the polarization of the Senate and Democratic Party, as well as last week's statement concerning withholding shipment of weapons, including bombs used to attack civilians in Rafah, President Biden decided to move along with $1 billion in arms support to Israel.

White House representatives have declared in Congress that President Biden plans to send Israel arms and weapons worth more than $1 billion, despite previous declarations to withdraw support of bombs that could have possibly been further used on civilians in Rafah, southern Gaza City. As President Biden told CNN, "Civilians have been killed in Gaza as a consequence of those bombs." Reuters agency reported that Washington plans to support Israel further provided in a $26 billion supplemental funding bill passed the previous month. However, national security adviser Jack Sullivan suggested that the American President decided to withdraw the bomb supply since the White House "do not believe they should be dropped in densely populated cities."

The equipment includes $700 million for tank ammunition, $500 million for tactical vehicles, and $60 million for mortar rounds. Further details about the arms transfer have not been disclosed yet.

Polarisation of the American political scene

President Biden has been criticized for his decisions by both sides of the American political scene for several months. Some members of the Democratic Party have urged him to limit support. Pro-Palestinian tendencies have also been noticed in American cities through the nationwide protests organized by college students. Moreover, Biden's administration has been criticized for its patchy support, undercutting the American approach towards Israel in Gaza and Lebanon, where it is pushing for a more specified approach.

On the other hand, Republican representatives criticized President Biden for inconsistent support toward American allies. Republican lawmakers opted for a more decisive and more radical approach of the White House in arm supplying since a weaker approach results in diminishing Israel in fights with Hamas and Iran. They have already introduced legislation in Congress preventing another break in weapon supply to the Israeli army. Nevertheless, White House representatives have already declared that should the bill pass Congress, President Biden will immediately veto it.

Further concerns about the American military support

Although the bill has a slim chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate, House Democrats still cannot agree on a common language. Over twenty of them have signed a letter to President Biden stating their deep concern about the message resulting from stopping the supply. New York representative said that he would probably vote for the Republican bill since he has "a general rule of supporting pro-Israel legislation unless it includes a poison pill — like cuts to domestic policy."

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre promised to spend "every last cent" adopted by Congress as a supplemental package. The package was signed by President Biden last month.

Violence in Rafah

Israeli officials have been targeting the city of Rafah in southern Gaza aimed at eliminating four Hamas battalions. However, the Biden administration has previously noted that it will result in "terrible harm to civilians." Washington Post reports that although the arms supply will not be delivered immediately, Israeli authorities get a message that the United States is ready to support President Netanyahu's military decisions and "not have to worry about the United States replenishing the munitions at a later date." It may be particularly challenging for President Biden during his reelection campaign since he may lose his credibility and the trust of his supporters.

When it comes to the use of weapons ... it was reasonable to assess that, in certain instances, Israel acted in ways that are not consistent with international humanitarian law

Antony BlinkenUS Secretary of State on the usage of arms in Rafah.

Maryland's Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen openly declared his lack of support toward President Biden's approach to President Netanyahu. He stated, "We should not be proceeding with any additional offensive arms transfers until the United States receives clear assurances from the Netanyahu government that the president’s concerns regarding Rafah have been addressed and his demands for the delivery of humanitarian assistance have been met."

Source: BBC, AP News, New York Times, Washington Post

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