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Biden administration initiates process for USD 1 bn arms deal with Israel

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Washington, DC | May 15, 2024 12:59:41 PM IST
The Joe Biden administration has initiated the initial stages of a process to advance a new USD 1 billion arms deal for Israel, confirmed two congressional sources as reported by CNN on Wednesday.

Discussions have commenced between the State Department and the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations committees regarding the potential sale, following an informal notification on Tuesday.

While no specific timeline has been set for official notification to Congress, the process has begun, setting in motion the eventual approval process.

This move comes amidst a temporary halt in the shipment of 2,000-pound bombs and 500-pound bombs to Israel, with concerns raised about their use in densely populated areas such as Rafah, as reported by CNN

The proposed arms deal, valued at USD 1 billion, could include the transfer of USD 700 million in tank ammunition, USD 500 million in tactical vehicles, and USD 60 million in mortar rounds, as confirmed by one of the congressional sources.

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

It's important to note that the weapons being discussed would not immediately reach Israel. The sale would necessitate official notification to Congress and subsequent congressional approval, a process that could prove lengthy, especially if met with objections from lawmakers.

While acknowledging a review of other weapons shipments to Israel, US officials have reiterated the commitment to ensuring Israel's military capacity for self-defence remains intact. This stance suggests that longer-term weapons agreements will not be halted at this juncture.

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

The State Department refrained from providing additional comments on the informal notification, deferring to Sullivan's remarks. Similarly, the Pentagon declined to offer any comments on the matter, CNN reported. (ANI)

 
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