US President Donald Trump announced on Saturday that the US government had “urgently” agreed, without going through Congress, to sell about 14,000 tank shells to Israel that it used in its war against Hamas in Gaza.
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The US State Department notified Congress on Friday, using an “emergency” authorization, of the sale of 13,981 120 mm shells to its Israeli ally to equip Merkava battle tanks participating in the attack on the Palestinian territories, according to press releases issued on Saturday by the State Department. State Department and the Pentagon.
The value of this military equipment is $106.5 million.
“Secretary of State (Anthony Blinken) has determined and justified in detail to Congress that there is an urgent need to immediately sell this equipment to the Israeli government (…) without the parliamentary review required by arms export control legislation,” US diplomacy noted.
On Wednesday, Congress — divided between the Republican-majority House and divided, but Democratic, Senate — failed to make progress on a massive aid package of more than $106 billion demanded by Democratic President Joe. Biden, including funds allocated to Ukraine and Israel.
The State Department further justified the matter, saying: “The United States is committed to Israel’s security and it is important to American national interests to help Israel develop and maintain a strong self-defense capability.”
Despite sometimes tense diplomatic relations, Washington is Israel’s main supporter, and has provided it with $3.8 billion in military aid annually since 2016, during Barack Obama’s presidency.
The United States vetoed a UN Security Council resolution, on Friday evening, calling for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza.