US set to approve $735 million arms deal to Israel
Congressional sources indicated to The Washington Post, that the deal would likely be approved by the Houses without objections.
"Allowing this proposed sale of smart bombs to go through without putting pressure on Israel to agree to a ceasefire will only enable further carnage," one Democratic lawmaker on the House Foreign Affairs Committee told The Washington Post.
"In the past week, the Israeli military's strikes have killed many civilians and destroyed the building that housed the Associated Press, an American company reporting on the facts in Gaza," they continued.
According to the sources, the US Congress was notified that the deal was in progress in April, and officially informed on 5 May, during the customary review process ahead of major foreign weapons sales.
US law states that once official notification has been given, Congress has 15-days to object to the sale, although no objection is expected to be voiced.
The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting Tuesday amid a flurry of urgent diplomacy aimed at stemming Israeli air strikes that have killed more than 200 Palestinians. https://t.co/g348hB7L1T— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) May 18, 2021
When Boeing’s sale of Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or JDAMs, was first announced, it was considered to be routine, and pre-dated the latest violence in the region.
The Democratic and Republican leadership of the congressional foreign affairs committees, who are responsible for reviewing such deals, made no objections at the time.
JDAMs are a guidance kits that can be attached to unguided munitions, converting them into precision-guided "smart bombs".
Despite the overwhelming support for Israel in the US House, recent events have prompted a number of lawmakers to speak out against the increasing violence inflicted on Gaza.
"We cannot just condemn rockets fired by Hamas and ignore Israel's state-sanctioned police violence against Palestinians - including unlawful evictions, violent attacks on protestors & the murder of Palestinian children. US aid should not be funding this violence," tweeted the representative for Wisconsin's 2nd District, Mark Pocan.
Annually, the US provides Israel with $3.8 billion in aid, separate to arms sales, which is not conditional on its human rights records. Such exemptions are not granted to other nations that receive US aid.
On Monday the ministry of health in Gaza reported that the death toll, caused by Israeli attacks, had risen to 212, including at least 61 children and 36 women. A further 15 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli security forces in the West Bank.
Rockets fired by Hamas have killed 10 Israelis since fighting erupted.