Escalating Conflict in Gaza Prompts Delay in US Weapon Sale to Israel

The United States has reportedly postponed the sale of thousands of precision weapons to Israel amidst ongoing conflict in Gaza, according to a report citing current and former US officials.

President Joe Biden’s administration has faced scrutiny over its policy of supplying arms to Israel, with critics alleging violations of US laws prohibiting military aid and weapon sales to countries involved in human rights abuses.

The recent escalation of violence in Gaza, marked by seven months of Israeli bombardment and siege resulting in numerous casualties, has drawn international attention and condemnation.

The proposed sale, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, involved up to 6,500 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) – guidance kits converting unguided bombs into precision-guided munitions.

US law mandates notification of major foreign military sales agreements to Congress, typically initiated by the Department of State. While Congress was informed about the potential $260 million sale in January, the Biden administration has yet to proceed with formal notification, leading to a de facto pause in the deal.

The delay in the JDAMs deal coincides with widespread pro-Palestine protests across US university campuses, condemning US support for Israel’s military actions, including arms sales. Additionally, it occurs in the lead-up to the US presidential election, where President Biden faces potential criticism from within his own party regarding military aid to Israel.

While White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby declined to comment on specific weapons sales to Israel, he reaffirmed the US’s unwavering commitment to Israel’s security. However, he also emphasized US opposition to an Israeli ground offensive in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza housing a significant Palestinian population.

Despite verbal criticism of Israeli actions by US officials, Palestinian rights advocates argue for a cessation of military support to Israel, holding that continued arms sales implicate the US in Israeli actions.

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