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Biden administration approves more than $1 billion in arms and ammunition to Israel

A week after issuing warnings to withhold artillery shells and bombs to Israel if it went ahead with its assault on Rafah, refuge to more than one million Palestinians in the south of Gaza, the Biden administration has informed Congress that it would send more than $1 billion in additional arms and ammunition to Israel. 

Though the US President, Joe Biden, had withheld 3,500 bombs of up to 2,000 pounds each earlier this month—concerned about its usage against the civilians of Gaza— he has made it certain that he will see to ‘Israel having all of the military means it need to defend itself against all of its enemies, including Hamas,’ according to national security spokesman John Kirby. 

The package is said to include $700 million for tank ammunition, $500 million in tactical vehicles, and $60 million in mortar rounds, according to congressional aides familiar with the deal. There has been a discussion around a confidential arms transfer that has not yet been made public.

Jake Sullivan, the White House national security adviser, has provided an insight on their commitment to support Israel. “The president was clear he would not supply certain offensive weapons for such an operation, were it to occur,” Sullivan said. “It has not yet occurred. And we are still working with Israel on a better way to ensure the defeat of Hamas everywhere in Gaza, including in Rafah.”

Aside from this, Kirby’s comments to the reporters on Monday have also mentioned something similar. “He’s going to continue to provide Israel with all of the capabilities it needs, but he does not want certain categories of American weapons used in a particular type of operation in a particular place. And again, he has been clear and consistent with that,” he said, quoting ‘particular type of operation in a particular place.’ 

President Biden has been dutifully supporting Israel after the Oct. 7 attack, which killed around 1,200 people, but has recently found itself unable to naturalise the support with Israel’s conduct of the war killing more than an estimated 34,000 people in Gaza. 

Biden’s repeated military assistance to Israel has been heavily criticised on all sides of the political spectrum. His fellow democrats have voiced out concerns as well, asking him to limit the transfer of offensive weapons to Israel and do more to protect Palestinian civilians. College campuses across the country are making their dissatisfaction known too, protesting for Palestinian rights against the Israeli side. 

Still, despite Biden’s reelection campaign going up against former president Donald Trump, he has made it clear that the United States would continue to supply arms to ensure Israel’s security, stating its aid in defending Israel against the missile attacks Iran launched last month. 

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