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Ocasio-Cortez submits amendment to block arms sale to Israel

NY Democrat calls for halting transfer of precision-guided munitions to Israel ‘over the bombing of Palestinian civilians, media centers’

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York attends a news conference at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on June 16, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York attends a news conference at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on June 16, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has submitted an amendment to the annual United States defense spending bill to block the sale of precision-guided munitions to Israel.

According to a statement released on Thursday by her office, the resolution would prevent the transfer of $735 million worth of Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) tail kits to Israel. The kits turn unguided bombs into GPS guided missiles.

Ocasio-Cortez also submitted amendments to prevent weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and Colombia over alleged human rights abuses.

In a tweet, Ocasio-Cortez said that the amendment relating to Israel was “over the bombing of Palestinian civilians [and] media centers,” apparently referring to the bombing of a building in Gaza City that housed the offices of the Associated Press and Al-Jazeera.

Israel has said that the building was used by Hamas to try to disrupt the Iron Dome missile defense system during the 11-day conflict in May. The Israeli military gave occupants of the building an hour to evacuate before the airstrike. No one was injured, but the high-rise was flattened into a pile of rubble.

The amendment is the second attempt by Ocasio-Cortez to block the JDAM sale to Israel. After the Biden administration formally notified Congress of the weapons transfer on May 5, she — along with Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Mark Pocan — submitted a joint resolution of disapproval to block the sale.

However, the matter was never brought to a vote, as the Senate version of the resolution sponsored by Bernie Sanders was determined to have been submitted too late. The State Department went on to grant the Boeing weapons manufacturer a commercial license to sell JDAMs and Small Diameter Bombs to Israel.

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