Massive arms sale to Israel wins support from key Democrats, paving way for passage

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had told the Americans last week that the weapons supply had to be renewed or else the war would drag on even longer.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A massive arms sale to Israel has now been okayed after two key Democrats removed their opposition, the Washington Post reported Monday.

Citing three American officials as sources, the paper said that Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, finally gave in to White House and Israel advocates’ pressure after holding up the Committee’s authorization for months.

His parallel colleague in the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, Ben Cardin (D-MD), a prominent Israel supporter, immediately gave his backing as well. He had been “widely seen as standing with Meeks in an act of collegial solidarity,” the article noted.

The Republicans in these committees had backed the sale from the beginning.

The weapons package reportedly includes immediately-needed items such as JDAM kits, which turned simple bombs into precision-guided weapons, tank ammunition, armored vehicles and mortars, valued at close to a billion dollars.

It also includes the sale of 50 more F-15 fighter planes at a cost of several billion dollars, which will only roll off the assembly line years from now.

Meeks had told the Washington daily that he wanted the White House “to continue pushing Israel” for “significant and concrete improvements” regarding “humanitarian efforts and limiting civilian casualties,” as well as “assurances” about how the IDF would use the American weapons it received.

The Democratic legislator seemingly did not take into account Hamas’ own acknowledgment that it uses the Gazan civilian population as human shields, embedding its command centers, rocket-launchers and terror tunnels in and under homes, schools, mosques and hospitals.

This makes them legitimate military targets according to international law.

The Hamas-supplied and unverified number of 37,000 Gazan deaths that concerned the congressman does not differentiate between combatants and noncombatants.

Last month, Netanyahu disputed the terror organization’s figures, saying that the IDF has eliminated 14,000 Hamas fighters and estimating that 16,000 civilians have been killed so far in the eight months of warfare.

That the IDF has managed to keep their deaths to a ratio of a little over one-to-one, has been hailed by military experts as an unheard-of achievement in a military conflict.

Israel needs more weapons now, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week when he was visiting Jerusalem, according to a Monday report in the Bild newspaper.

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The German daily reported that Netanyahu had told Blinken that the U.S. had recently stopped supplying Israel with the weapons it needed “when it was in a fight for its existence.”

The prime minister noted that Israel would continue to fight with all the means at its disposal even without a renewed arms deal, but that the denial of weapons gives support to Tehran and its Hamas and Hezbollah proxies.

It thus only prolongs the war and heightens the risk of widening the war to other areas of the region, he said, according to the German paper.

Blinken reportedly responded that the administration was in the process of removing the obstacles to the arms supply.

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