The Biden administration approved a $735 million sale of precision missiles to Israel nearly a week before the outbreak of combat between Israel and the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip, according to a report Monday.
Congress was notified of the proposed sale of the precision-guided munitions on May 5, at least six days before Palestinian terrorists in Gaza began firing rockets toward Israel, The Washington Post reported.
Lawmakers have 15 days to object to the sale since the administration officially notified them. However, according to the report, some lawmakers learned of the sale for the first time over the weekend.
The Post says some Democrats who are critical of unconditional aid to Israel are now pressing for details and may hope to use the sale as potential leverage.
“Allowing this proposed sale of smart bombs to go through without putting pressure on Israel to agree to a ceasefire will only enable further carnage,” one Democratic lawmaker on the House Foreign Affairs Committee says.
In a sign of Israel’s diminished status as an issue of consensus in US politics, there have been increasing calls within Democratic ranks to stop providing military aid to Israel unconditionally.
Last month, prominent progressive senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren both used their addresses at the J Street lobby’s national conference to call for regulating US aid to Israel, asserting that such assistance should not be allowed to bankroll Israeli policies that damage prospects for a two-state solution.
However, around that same time more than three-quarters of the House members expressed their opposition to placing any conditions on US aid.
Prior to the 2020 US election, then-Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris said that a Biden administration would not place conditions on American aid to Israel.
Palestinian terrorists in Gaza have fired over 3,200 rockets toward Israel since the outbreak of fighting with Gaza last Monday, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
Ten people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl, have been killed in the rocket fire, and hundreds have been injured.
Israel in turn, has struck hundreds of buildings in the Gaza Strip using precision missiles. The military maintains that the targets it struck are all assets of Hamas or other terror groups.
In total, 200 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, including at least 59 children, and more than 1,300 wounded. Israel says many of the dead were combatants and that some were also killed by errant rockets fired by terror groups.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with US President Joe Biden on Saturday about the ongoing escalation in violence between Israel and terrorists in the Gaza Strip and said the IDF was doing everything possible to avoid harming civilians, according to an Israeli statement on the call. The two were set to speak again Monday.