Biden administration bypasses Congress on weapons sales to Israel

The administration of United States President Joe Biden has once again bypassed Congress to greenlight an emergency weapons sale to Israel, which has only intensified and broadened its attacks on the Gaza Strip despite growing international outrage.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Congress that he had made a second emergency determination in less than a month, covering a $147.5m sale of equipment to Israel, the State Department said on Friday.

“Given the urgency of Israel’s defensive needs, the secretary notified Congress that he had exercised his delegated authority to determine an emergency existed necessitating the immediate approval of the transfer,” it said.

“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to US national interests to ensure Israel is able to defend itself against the threats it faces.”

The package includes ancillary items, including fuses, charges and primers that Israel would require to make the 155mm shells that it had previously purchased, function.

Friday’s emergency determination, which is rare but has been used by at least four previous US administrations, means that a requirement for a potentially lengthy congressional review for foreign military sales will be bypassed.

“We’ve been hearing from all the top Biden administration officials for weeks that it is time for Israel to move to a lower-intensity conflict. In essence, stop the mass bombing. Stop the mass deaths of civilians,” she said.

‘Morally scandalous’

Israel will also be purchasing 155mm M107 projectiles, which are artillery shells that will cause widespread destruction in a densely populated area such as Gaza, Culhane reported.“They didn’t say exactly how many [shells] were going to be in this $147.5m package. But, in previous packages, it really does mean that thousands and thousands of bombs will be going to Israel.”

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