US House committee seeks to delay $735 million sale of ‘smart bomb’ equipment to Israel

Some lawmakers want to use the proposed deal to pressure Israel into a cease-fire with Hamas.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs is looking to delay a Biden-approved, $735 million sale of Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or JDAMS, kits that turn regular bombs into precision-guided ones.

According to the Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, Committee chairman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) is sending a letter to the administration asking for the postponement so that his panel can review the sale in light of the current hostilities.

Some Democrats on the panel want to use the opportunity to pressure Israel into stopping its retaliatory strikes against the U.S.-designated terrorist organization that has indiscriminately fired more than 3,200 missiles and rockets into Israel in the last week.

“Allowing this proposed sale of smart bombs to go through without putting pressure on Israel to agree to a cease-fire will only enable further carnage,” one member of the Committee told the Washington Post Monday.

According to the Post, which broke the story of the sale, most of the deal is for Boeing’s JDAMs. Israel needs the equipment to minimize the loss of civilian life when it targets terrorists hiding in civilian centers or launching rockets from populated areas.

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Anti-Israel lawmaker Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who has accused Israel of “terrorism” in defending itself against the unprovoked attacks that have sent much of southern and central Israel running to shelters and safe rooms, wants to end such arms sales to Israel.

“Congress must intervene and stop the sale of these weapons,” she tweeted.

The Biden administration had approved the sale and notified Congress as it must legally do, on May 5, almost a week before Hamas began its unprovoked rocket barrage on Israel that have killed 10 Israeli civilians so far and injured hundreds.

The Committee has 15 days from the time it is notified to object to the sale, giving it only two more days to do so. Even if a majority of the members are against the sale, the disapproval would be nonbinding on the administration. Due to House rules regarding Committee work, time has already run out on bringing it to the floor in Congress for a vote in any case.

The Gazan authorities claim some 200 Palestinians dead and over 1,000 injured in the IDF’s retaliatory strikes.

Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have said that most of those killed have been terrorists. They have expressed regret over the loss of any innocent life, but have laid the onus on Hamas for the deaths, as the terror group uses civilians as human shields.