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Report: US continues to supply arms to Israel despite controversy

Report: US continues to supply arms to Israel despite controversy

(Keystone SDA) Despite US concerns about Israel's planned ground offensive against the refugee-filled town of Rafah in the Gaza Strip, Washington continues to provide its ally with billions of dollars in arms aid, a newspaper report said. The “Washington Post” reported Friday (local time), citing unnamed Pentagon and US State Department officials, that US President Joe Biden's government “quietly” approved 2,000 pounds of bombs and warplanes to Israel. (about 907 kg) of MK84 shells.

This shows that the US government does not see the arms transfer as a way of influencing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The American newspaper wrote that such an approach is a hindrance to Washington. Relations between Biden and Netanyahu are currently strained. An Israeli delegation was actually scheduled to visit Washington this week. US representatives wanted to address their concerns about the ground offensive in Rafah – and show alternatives. But Netanyahu canceled the trip after the UN Security Council passed a resolution on Monday without objection from the United States, increasing international pressure on Israel.

However, strained ties have not stopped Biden from continuing to send weapons and military equipment to Israel, the newspaper wrote. U.S. government officials have repeated Biden's pledge to Israel to provide unconditional support for the country in its fight against the Islamist Hamas. “Conditioning (military) aid is not our policy,” the newspaper quoted an official as saying. Last week, the Ministry of External Affairs approved, among other things, the delivery of 25 F-35A fighter jets. It was already approved by Congress in 2008, so the Cabinet is not obliged to issue a fresh notification. The Mk84 and Mk82 bombs approved this week were reportedly approved by Congress years ago but have not yet been delivered.

According to the US government, efforts are underway to find a new date for the Israeli delegation's visit to Washington. A few days ago, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said, “We are in the process of setting a date. Netanyahu's office has agreed to reschedule the meeting. When asked, Netanyahu's office said the head of government had not approved the delegation's departure. However, it did not deny that talks had taken place.