White House requests lists of weapons to be sold to Israel

Since the Hamas atrocities, the US has made over 100 arms sales to Israel.

By Jack Elbaum, The Algemeiner

Rising Democratic pressure on the Biden administration to distance itself from Israel amid the ongoing war in Gaza may be yielding results, with the White House asking the State Department and the Pentagon for a list of all weapons the US is planning to send the Jewish state over the next few weeks, according to a new report.

Amid growing calls from US President Joe Biden’s own party to reexamine US support for Israel since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre, the White House is seeking a full accounting of Washington’s military assistance to Jerusalem, Axios reported on Thursday.

Since the Hamas atrocities, the US has made over 100 arms sales to Israel.

However, this is the first time the White House requested such a list in the course of the war, which may be a sign it is looking to conduct more oversight of its aid to Israel.

The Pentagon declined a request for comment on the move, telling The Algemeiner that the State Department “is the lead for security assistance programs and will take lead in a potential response.”

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The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It is not uncommon for a list of planned arms sales to be requested — it has been done with respect to Ukraine, for example — but the timing in this case is notable.

In recent weeks, there has been growing criticism of Israel among Democrats over how it has waged its war against Hamas — particularly due to the civilian death toll in Gaza — and pressure on the Biden administration for its support for the military campaign.

On Wednesday, for example, a group of 37 Democratic lawmakers, including some who have historically been pro-Israel such as Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), sent a letter to the White House suggesting an Israeli invasion of Rafah may violate its outlined conditions on aid.

Rafah is the last Hamas stronghold in Gaza.

The lawmakers wrote: “While we continue to urge Israel to avoid an expanded operation in Rafah, we share your [Biden’s] obvious concern about the absence of a credible plan for the safety and support of the more than one million civilians sheltering in Rafah.”

They concluded that such an operation “should not be supported by US taxpayer-funded assistance” if it “runs counter to the specific principles outlined” by the Biden administration — a situation they consider “likely.”

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In the Senate, top Biden allies are urging the administration to take additional steps to protect Palestinian civilians.

Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) said the US should cut aid to Israel if it invades Rafah, and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) said Israel “needs to understand that the casualties they’ve inflicted on the people of Gaza — the devastation they have caused — cannot continue.”

Israeli officials say they have taken extraordinary precautions to try to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza, where Hamas terrorists hide among the civilian population, using them as human shields and placing command centers in facilities such as hospitals.

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) called for a ceasefire this week, writing, “I think it’s become very clear that Israel has now committed war crimes. They are intentionally starving people.”

Castro became the latest member of Congress to call for a ceasefire, joining a group of far left lawmakers who have been calling for one since the beginning of the war.

Israel has argued that a ceasefire without the release of its hostages in Gaza would allow Hamas to strengthen its position.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) says it has killed more than 13,000 Hamas fighters in its war to remove the Palestinian terrorist group from power and rescue the more than 240 hostages kidnapped on Oct. 7. Hamas terrorists also killed over 1,200 people during its surprise invasion of southern Israel.

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Based on Israeli and US estimates, Israel’s civilian-to-combatant casualty ratio during the current war has been about 2 to 1, compared to the average in urban warfare of 9 to 1 according to the United Nations.