The only thing now slowing weapons sales to Israel is the failure of Congress to pass an appropriations bill which contains provisions for military aid to both Ukraine and Israel. What is holding those sales up has nothing to do with any loss of support for Israel, but merely reflects the failure of the parties to come to an agreement on controlling the southern border.
But a malicious rumor has been started by government employees who bear an anti-Israel animus. In late November, more than 500 officials from some 40 agencies signed a letter protesting Biden’s Israel policy, which they found too indulgent toward the Jewish state. The letter was ignored.
In mid- December, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken approved the sale of of M107 155 mm. artillery shells and related equipment, bypassing congressional review. Blinken had determined that an emergency existed requiring the immediate sale to Israel, thereby waiving congressional review requirements, according to the Pentagon.
The administration continues to stand up for Israel at the UN, in both the General Assembly and the Security Council. It dismissed as “outrageous” South Africa’s charge before the International Court of Justice that Israel in Gaza has engaged in “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide.” It has backed up Israel’s version of disputed events in Gaza, such as the so-called “Israeli airstrike” (in truth, a misfired rocket by Palestinian Islamic Jihad) on the Al-Ahli Hospital, and the killing of Abu Sahloul, not by an Israeli sniper, but by a Hamas gunman. More on this suggestion that there might be a slowdown in weapons sales to pressure Israel, and the swift, firm rejection of such a possibility by the Administration, can be found here: “White House rejects report US considering slowing weapons sales to Israel,” Jerusalem Post, January
The Biden administration is considering slowing weapons sales to Israel to place pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to scale back the war in Gaza, US officials told NBC News on Sunday, although the White House later rejected the report.
This bit of malicious musing on a Sunday news program about a possible slowing of weapons sales to Israel reflects the desire of some in the administration to make such pressure happen, but within hours the administration had rejected the suggestion as false.
According to the NBC report, the Pentagon was reviewing what weaponry Israel has requested that could be withheld as leverage, although no decisions had been made yet.
Among the weaponry being considered as leverage are 155 mm artillery rounds and joint direct attack munitions (JDAMs). JDAMs are used to convert regular bombs into precision-guided bombs….
Of course, withholding 155 mm artillery rounds would only lead to the IDF relying more on airstrikes, which are likely to cause greater destruction of civilian buildings and larger numbers of civilian casualties than the use of artillery. Similarly, withholding JDAMS would mean that the Israeli Air Force would not be able to convert regular bombs into precision-guided bombs, resulting again in more civilian casualties and greater destruction of infrastructure around the target. This is exactly what the Israelis, and the Americans, wish to avoid.
“Israel has a right and obligation to defend themselves against the threat of Hamas, while abiding by international humanitarian law and protecting civilian lives, and we remain committed to support Israel in its fight against Hamas. We have done so since Oct. 7, and will continue to. There has not been a change in our policy,” a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said.
That sounds good. I think they mean it. The administration still may fondly believe in that will-o’-the-wisp of a “two-state solution” — almost everybody does, alas — but in its reiterated statement of support for Israel in Gaza, and its assurance that weapons deliveries to Israel will not be slowed, it is keeping the faith.
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