The US delayed sending Joint Direct Attack Munitions to Israel

Al Jazeera English

The United States government has delayed the sale of thousands of precision weapons to its ally Israel amid its war on Gaza, a report says quoting current and former US officials.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Monday that the proposed deal involved up to 6,500 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) – guidance kits that turn unguided bombs into precision-guided munitions.
US law requires Congress to be notified of major foreign military sales agreements.
Congress was first informed about the sale – estimated at $260m – in January but the Biden administration has yet to move forward, according to the WSJ.
The administration’s lack of follow-up action with an official notification about the sale has triggered an effective pause in the deal, the publication said.
“It’s unusual, especially for Israel, especially during a war,” a congressional official familiar with the arms sales process told the WSJ.
John Kirby, spokesman of the White House National Security Council, declined on Monday to comment on whether any weapons sales to Israel had been put on hold.
“Our security commitments to Israel are ironclad,” he said during a briefing.

NEUTRAL

A report citing current and former US officials claims that the US government has postponed selling thousands of precision weapons to Israel, an ally, in the midst of Israel’s Gaza war.

The policy of arming Israel, which opponents claim violates US laws prohibiting military aid and weapon sales to nations that violate human rights, has drawn criticism to the administration of President Joe Biden. Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, a charge it denies. After seven months of Israeli bombardment and siege on the Gaza Strip, almost 35,000 people have died and nearly 80,000 have been injured.

The proposed agreement included up to 6,500 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs), which are guidance kits that convert unguided bombs into precisely guided weapons, according to a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report on Monday.

According to US law, significant agreements involving the sale of military hardware to other countries must be reported to Congress. A formal congressional notification follows the Department of State’s informational briefing to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee prior to any such possible sales.

The Biden administration has not yet taken action despite initially informing Congress about the sale, which is valued at $260 million, in January, according to the WSJ. An effective halt to the transaction has been imposed, according to the publication, by the administration’s failure to follow up with an official notification about the sale.

A congressional official familiar with the arms sales process told the Wall Street Journal, “It’s unusual, especially for Israel, especially during a war.”.

Nevertheless, the official stated that they were ignorant of the cause of the hold-up.

If the postponement was intentional, according to Middle East Democracy Center arms sales expert Seth Binder, it “would be the first instance since this war began where the administration took such an action on weapons we know have been used in Gaza.” Binder made this statement to the Wall Street Journal.

According to reports, the JDAMs agreement has been delayed. Pro-Palestine demonstrations against the US government’s backing of Israel’s war in Gaza, including the sale of weapons to Israel, have taken place on college campuses across the country.

Additionally, it occurs just a few months before Democratic candidate Joe Biden and Republican opponent Donald Trump square off for the US presidency in November.

A late-February Reuters/Ipsos poll found that, among Democrats, 56% said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supports military aid for Israel, while 40% said they would be more likely to support such a contender.

The National Security Council spokesperson for the White House, John Kirby, declined to comment on Monday when asked if any arms sales to Israel had been suspended.

He declared at a briefing that “our security commitments to Israel are ironclad.”.

Amidst the ceaseless Israeli bombardment of Rafah, a city in southern Gaza where approximately 1.5 million Palestinians are seeking refuge, Kirby informed reporters that “nothing changed” in the US position regarding the Israeli attack.

During a phone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, Biden emphasized US resistance to a ground invasion in Rafah, according to the White House.

But Israeli forces took control of the Rafah border crossing early on Tuesday, just hours after Hamas, the organization in charge of Gaza, declared it had accepted a ceasefire proposal offered by international mediators. This cut off a crucial path for humanitarian aid to reach Gaza and provided a possible haven for civilians fleeing an onslaught of buildings.

Advocates for Palestinian rights have maintained that verbal criticism of Israeli policies by US officials is insufficient, and they have called on Biden to sever military ties with the US ally.

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