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Tags: biden | increase | military aid | israel | ceasefire

Biden to Increase Military Aid to Israel Amid Cease-Fire Push

By    |   Saturday, 17 February 2024 01:21 PM EST

The Biden administration is making arrangements to bolster Israel's military capabilities by sending additional weaponry, including bombs, amid ongoing efforts to broker a cease-fire in the Gaza conflict, according to current and former U.S. officials, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The proposed arms package consists of approximately a thousand units each of MK-82 bombs, KMU-572 Joint Direct Attack Munitions for enhanced bomb precision, and FMU-139 bomb fuses, valued at tens of millions of dollars.

While the specifics are subject to internal review, the Biden administration is expected to notify congressional committee leaders for approval before finalizing the transfer.

This move coincides with a pivotal juncture in the Gaza conflict, as Israel prepares to launch an offensive in Rafah, southern Gaza, home to over one million Palestinians seeking refuge from the violence. Israeli authorities justify the operation as a necessary measure to target Hamas militants intermingled among the civilian population.

The White House deferred inquiries to the State and Defense Departments, while Israeli counterparts remained silent. An assessment by the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, seen by The Wall Street Journal, indicated that Israel sought the weapons for its defense against regional threats, dismissing concerns about human rights violations.

Financing for the transfer is expected to come from U.S. military aid to Israel, a significant portion of its annual defense budget. Precision-guided munitions would enhance Israel's capacity to target Hamas leaders, while MK-82 bombs when equipped with precision kits, could effectively engage enemy forces hidden underground.

Since the conflict's onset, the U.S. has supplied approximately 21,000 precision-guided munitions to Israel, with roughly half already deployed. Analysts suggest that the transfer underscores the Biden administration's commitment to supporting Israel following Hamas' October 7 attack, despite tensions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over military strategies.

While Biden has urged Israel to minimize civilian casualties and pursue a cease-fire, he has refrained from conditioning arms sales on changes to Israel's conduct. The conflict has divided American public opinion, with calls for both staunch support of Israel and restrictions on arms exports.

The Gaza conflict has claimed over 28,000 lives, predominantly civilians, according to Palestinian health officials. Israel attributes the conflict to Hamas's cross-border assault, which it claims resulted in the deaths of 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians.

Concerns persist within the American diplomatic community regarding the use of U.S. weapons in Gaza, prompting investigations into Israeli strikes and allegations of white phosphorus usage. Despite the relatively small scale of the proposed delivery compared to Israel's overall arsenal, security analysts warn of its potential to escalate the conflict further.

Foreign governments, U.N. officials, and Palestinian leaders have expressed alarm over the looming offensive in Rafah, prompting Egypt to construct facilities to accommodate potential Palestinian refugees.

The Biden administration has stressed the need to protect civilians in any military operation, while Israel has indicated plans to relocate the civilian population within Gaza.

Jim Thomas

Jim Thomas is a writer based in Indiana. He holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science, a law degree from U.I.C. Law School, and has practiced law for more than 20 years.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Politics
The Biden administration is making arrangements to bolster Israel's military capabilities by sending additional weaponry, including bombs, amid ongoing efforts to broker a cease-fire in the Gaza conflict, according to current and former U.S. officials, reported the Wall...
biden, increase, military aid, israel, ceasefire
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2024-21-17
Saturday, 17 February 2024 01:21 PM
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