American weapons sponsor the Israeli attack on Gaza

American weapons sponsor the Israeli attack on Gaza

WashingtonWashington's rhetorical pressure on Tel Aviv is like trees: it doesn't let you see the forest. Despite the open crisis between President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the brutal attack on Gaza, which claimed the lives of more than 34,000 Palestinians, the flow of US economic and military aid has not stopped at any time. Now, with the Iranian threat growing, the United States is working to unite its ranks with its partner, and Congress has already begun to activate the mechanisms necessary to launch the aid package that has been stuck since February.

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The alliance between the United States and Israel means that since World War II the Hebrew state has become one of the countries that has received the most aid from the Americans. More than 70% of the weapons imported by Israel are American, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). However, scrutiny of these shipments, which contribute to the deaths of Palestinian civilians that Biden calls on Israel to protect, has not yet begun.

Support for Israel has always been a matter of consensus between Democrats and Republicans in the US Congress. But Hell on the Strip sparked the first criticism inside the Capitol, and the killing of World Central Kitchen (WCK) volunteers was a turning point for some Democrats. The weekend after the deaths of aid workers, more than 40 members of Congress They sent an open letter Biden calls for the suspension of military aid to Israel.

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The force that was capable of achieving this most important sector was overshadowed by the Iranian attack on Israel last Saturday. The threat posed by the ayatollahs' regime was the shift Netanyahu needed to oust critics from inside the Capitol. Biden now finds it more difficult to follow through on the threat that there will be consequences if Tel Aviv does not change its policies on Gaza.

The ambiguity of military aid

Since the Gaza war began with the October 7 Hamas attack, the Biden administration has officially notified two shipments of weapons, manufactured in December. Although Congress usually votes to authorize these privileges, the White House was able to approve them without consultation by resorting to emergency authority. First package with With a value of $106.5 millionIt included approximately 14,000 rounds and M830A1 anti-tank ammunition. The second package consists of 155 mm artillery shells and associated equipment valued at 150 mm. $147.6 million.

The notification of these two packages constitutes an exception to the ambiguity that prevails in the weapons provided by the US government to Israel. The Arms and Export Control Act stipulates that only the president must consult with Congress when it comes to major transactions involving the shipment of assault weapons. For close US allies, the president is only required to formally notify Congress if it exceeds $25 million. The minimum is $100 million for defense components and $300 million for design and construction services. According to the The New York TimesLess than 10% of total U.S. arms sales to foreign governments exceed these thresholds. This means two things: that Congress can vote only on the largest and most important packages, and that most shipments are not in the public domain.

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Over the course of the six-month war in Gaza, the Biden administration has greenlit hundreds of additional arms sales and transfers to Israel. In fact, everything that came to light was thanks to American media leaks.

Exclusively from Washington Post It revealed a secret permit to ship more than 1,800 MK84 bombs weighing one ton, 500 MK28 bombs weighing 250 kilograms, and 25 F-35 fighters. The use of one-ton MK84 bombs in densely populated areas is prohibited under international law, however CNN investigation He pointed out that there is evidence that Israel is using it to bomb the Gaza Strip. Heavy munitions (most of which are manufactured by the United States) can cause a large number of casualties: the radius of their fragments is about 365 meters.

The last known weapons package to Israel is one that was sent hours before the IDF attacked aid workers at WCK and consists of a thousand 226 kg MK82 bombs and a further thousand small diameter bombs. According to US government data published in Foreign aidIn 2023 alone, the United States sent military aid to Tel Aviv worth approximately $3 billion, and this is still partial data. The military aid category also does not include funding for missile defense.

Biden's problem was inherited from Obama

The United States has continuously maintained an arsenal in Israel since the 1990s; What is known as the Allied-Israel War Reserve. In the past 23 years alone, the Hebrew state has absorbed more than $67 billion in military aid, and if we go back to the past 70 years, it is more than $124 billion.

Since its founding in 1948, the United States has considered Israel a key ally in the Middle East and has taken it upon itself to protect the country. Since then, on the basis of agreements and aid packages, the current channel through which US economic and military aid flows to Israel has been established. Although the Hebrew state is not a member of the Atlantic Alliance and does not have a defense treaty with the United States, it is considered an “important non-NATO ally” and receives privileged treatment.

The war in Gaza has put all eyes on Biden, even though the last major military aid package passed was in 2016, during the Barack Obama administration. Congress pledged to give its ally weapons worth $38 billion over 10 years: until 2028. At that time, the deal was not controversial, as Israel was experiencing a period of relative calm. The package guarantees Israel about $3 billion annually to purchase weapons and about $500 million annually for missile defense. On top of that, which has become a headache for the president, he is waiting for Congress to approve the sale of about 50 F-15 fighter jets worth $18 billion, as well as 30 AIM-120 medium-range air-to-air missiles and several direct attack munitions kits. . Which allows conventional bombs to be converted into precision-guided weapons.

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