Israeli ammunition supplies are running low. The US government announced on Saturday that it had “urgently” approved, without going through Congress, the sale to Israel of nearly 14,000 tank shells used in its war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The State Department notified Congress on Friday, citing “emergency” authorization, of the sale to its Israeli ally of 13,981 120mm rounds used to equip Merkava battle tanks in the offensive in Palestinian territory. The details were detailed in press releases from the Foreign Ministry and the Pentagon published on Saturday. The cost of this military equipment is $106.5 million.
According to Reuters, the Biden administration has asked Congress to approve the sale of a total of 45,000 rounds to Israeli tanks.
“The Secretary of State (Anthony Blinken) has determined and justified in detail to Congress that there is a need for an urgent sale of this equipment to the Israeli government (…) without the parliamentary review required by arms export control legislation,” the American diplomat said.
Congress, divided Wednesday with a House of Representatives with a Republican majority and Democratic senators in the majority but themselves divided, failed to make progress on a massive relief package of more than $106 billion that Democratic President Joe Biden had pushed for, including financial relief. for Ukraine and Israel.
“The United States is committed to Israel’s security, and it is critical to the American national interest to help Israel develop and maintain a strong self-defense capability,” the State Department further justified.
Despite sometimes tense diplomatic relations, Washington has been a major backer of Israel and has provided it with $3.8 billion in military aid annually since 2016 under President Barack Obama.
Late Friday, the United States vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in the Gaza Strip.