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U.S. Shipping More Bombs and Bombers to Israel

March 31—Despite all of the protestations coming out of Washington that Israel must take greater care to spare civilians in Gaza, the weapons pipeline remains wide open. The Washington Post, citing unnamed sources, reported March 29 that the Biden administration in recent days quietly authorized the transfer of billions of dollars in bombs and fighter jets to Israel despite Washington’s concerns about an anticipated military offensive in Rafah, where up to a 1.5 million Palestinians are crammed.

The new arms packages include more than 1,800 MK84 2,000-pound bombs and 500 MK82 500-pound bombs, according to Pentagon and State Department officials familiar with the matter. The 2,000-pound bombs have been linked to previous mass-casualty events throughout Israel’s military campaign in Gaza.

The development underscores that while apparent rifts have emerged between the United States and Israel over the war’s conduct, the Defense and State Departments and some in the White House view weapons transfers as off-limits when considering how to influence the actions of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Post says. “We have continued to support Israel’s right to defend itself,” said a White House official. “Conditioning aid has not been our policy.”

The transfers, which also include 25 F-35 stealth fighters, are based on authorizations that date back years but had not been executed, so no Congressional notification was required, according to the Post’s sources.

When asked about the transfers, a State Department official said that “fulfilling an authorization from one notification to Congress can result in dozens of individual Foreign Military Sales cases across the decades-long life-cycle of the congressional notification.” “As a matter of practicality, major procurements, like Israel’s F-35 program for example, are often broken out into several cases over many years,” the official added.

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