ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 144

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Blinken defends bypassing Congress to sell weapons to Israel

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a press conference in Tel Aviv, Nov. 30, 2023. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a press conference in Tel Aviv, Nov. 30, 2023. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken defends the emergency sale to Israel of nearly 14,000 rounds of tank ammunition and also calls for quick congressional approval of more than $100 billion in aid for Israel, Ukraine and other national security priorities.

Blinken says the needs of Israel’s military operations in Gaza justify the rare decision to bypass Congress: “Israel is in combat right now with Hamas,” he says during television interviews on CNN and ABC. “And we want to make sure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself against Hamas.”

The tank ammunition and related support constitute only a small portion of military sales to Israel, Blinken says, and the rest remains subject to congressional review: “It’s very important that Congress’s voice be heard in this,” he says.

The decision to proceed with the sale of more than $106 million for tank shells came as the Biden administration’s larger aid package is caught up in a debate over US immigration policy and border security.

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