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Ocasio-Cortez drafts resolution to block $735m sale of missiles to Israel

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the winner of a Democratic Congressional primary in New York, talks to the media, June 27, 2018, in New York. Ocasio-Cortez, 28, upset U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley in the election. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the winner of a Democratic Congressional primary in New York, talks to the media, June 27, 2018, in New York. Ocasio-Cortez, 28, upset U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley in the election. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has drafted a resolution aimed at blocking the $735 million sale of precision-guided missiles to Israel that was approved by the Biden administration.

The joint resolution of disapproval (JRD) is almost certain not to pass given strong support for Israel in both the House and Senate, but the legislation will also spark further debate on the issue of Israel in Congress, where a growing number of Democrats have begun taking a more critical stance against the longtime ally.

“The United States should not be rubber-stamping weapons sales to the Israeli government as they deploy our resources to target international media outlets, schools, hospitals, humanitarian missions and civilian sites for bombing,” Ocasio-Cortez tweets. “We have a responsibility to protect human rights.”

The resolution is being led by Ocasio-Cortez alongside Reps. Mark Pocan and Rashida Tlaib.

President Joe Biden speaks with Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich, right, as he arrives at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport in Detroit, Tuesday, May 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Times of Israel obtained a copy of a draft of the resolution, which would bar the US from issuing a license for the sale of “Joint Direct Attack Munition variants and Small Diameter Bomb Increment I variants for end use by the Ministry of Defense for Israel.”

Unlike the recent purchase of F-35s by the UAE, which was a foreign military sale, the precision-guided missiles for Israel would be transferred as part of a direct commercial sale, where there is far less opportunity for American oversight.

The Biden administration notified Congress of the sale on May 5 — five days before the Gaza violence commenced. The House has 15 days to pass a JRD before the administration is allowed to move forward with the commercial license. That 15-day window ends tomorrow, further complicating efforts to block the sale. However, if a Senate version of the JRD were introduced in the next day, it would be required to come to a vote in the upper house, even if after May 20.

Congress has never successfully blocked an arms deal through use of the JRD.

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