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US President Joe Biden. (Image: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

This comes at a time when there’s increased scrutiny over the use of American-made weaponry in Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza.

The Biden administration is considering over $1 billion in new weapons agreements with Israel, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing US officials. 

The weapons reportedly include “tank ammunition, military vehicles and mortar rounds”.

This comes at a time when there’s increased scrutiny over the use of American-made weaponry in Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza.

According to the WSJ, “the proposed weapons transfers—which would be in addition to those in a military aid deal currently before the Congress—would be among the largest to Israel since it invaded Gaza”. 

The potential sales would also be the first since Iran targeted Israel with missiles and drones in retaliation for Tel Aviv’s attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, on April 1. 

Israel’s response to this attack, overnight on Friday, appeared to be limited, possibly due to US pressure to prevent further escalation, according to the paper.

The WSJ reported that the officials said that “the deals under consideration include transfers of $700 million in 120 mm tank ammunition, $500 million in tactical vehicles and less than $100 million in 120 mm mortar rounds”.

The new weaponry could help replenish Israel’s depleted stocks after months of conflict in Gaza, the report indicated.

According to the report, some American lawmakers may oppose these additional arms transfers to Israel, especially given concerns over civilian casualties in Gaza. 

Pressure is reportedly mounting from Democrats in Congress to reduce weapons supplies to Israel to push for greater protection of civilians, the paper noted.

According to the WSJ, “the State Department and Pentagon declined to comment. The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment. The Israeli Ministry of Defense also declined to comment.”

Blinken’s Inaction

A report has recently surfaced, indicating that US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken had been presented with a recommendation urging Washington to take action against Israel over allegations of human rights violations. However, no action was taken in response.

The report, published by the investigative website ProPublica on Wednesday, disclosed that a special committee under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had advised the minister that the United States should limit arms sales to Israeli military units accused of human rights violations.

“But Blinken has failed to act on the proposal in the face of growing international criticism of the Israeli military’s conduct in Gaza, according to current and former State Department officials,” ProPublica reported. 

The report highlighted that most of the documented incidents occurred in the West Bank prior to the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7.

These incidents include extrajudicial killings by Israeli border police, including an incident where a battalion’s actions led to the death of an elderly Palestinian-American man, as well as “an allegation that interrogators tortured and raped a teenager who had been accused of throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails.”

According to an informed source cited by the investigative website, recommendations for action against Israeli units were forwarded to Blinken in December. The website quoted a source stating that “these reports have been in his possession ever since.”

‘Unconditional Military Support’

During the ongoing conflict, the US has already provided Israel with a massive amount of weaponry, drawing from previously approved $23 billion worth of arms transfers, according to the WSJ. 

The proposed tank rounds, vehicles, and mortars “would be a rare example of new weapons deals with Israel during the war,” the report stated.

Israel’s use of tanks in Gaza’s densely populated areas has drawn criticism from human rights groups and some Western officials for contributing to widespread destruction.

The WSJ quoted  Brian Finucane, a former attorney for the State Department and now a senior adviser at the International Crisis Group, as saying that this is “a signal of unconditional military support”.

“The US has yet to use the leverage it has with arms transfers to shape Israeli behavior,” Finucane added.

Gaza Genocide

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7. 

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 33,970 Palestinians have been killed, and 76,770 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip. 

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children. 

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba. 

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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