Biden Administration Approves Emergency Sale of Tank Shells to Israel Amid Conflict with Hamas

Biden Administration Approves Emergency Sale of Tank Shells to Israel Amid Conflict with Hamas

The U.S. government authorizes the sale of tank shells worth $106.5 million to Israel, bypassing congressional review, as the conflict with Hamas escalates.

As the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas continues to intensify, the Biden administration has utilized emergency powers to allow the sale of 14,000 tank shells to Israel without congressional oversight. The State Department invoked the Arms Export Control Act emergency declaration, enabling the immediate delivery of the shells valued at $106.5 million. This sale is part of a larger package, worth over $500 million, that the administration is seeking congressional approval for. The decision has drawn scrutiny, with human rights advocates expressing concern about the potential impact on civilian casualties.

U.S. Officials Assert No Plans to Impose Conditions on Military Aid to Israel

The use of U.S. weapons in the ongoing conflict has come under increased scrutiny as the war escalates. Despite this, U.S. officials have stated that there are no intentions to place conditions on military aid to Israel or consider withholding it. The Biden administration remains committed to Israel’s security while urging the Israeli government to adhere to international humanitarian law and take all feasible measures to minimize harm to civilians. The proposed sale is seen as a demonstration of the U.S. commitment to Israel’s defensive capabilities.

Justification for the Emergency Sale

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has provided detailed justification to Congress, asserting that the immediate provision of tank shells to Israel is in the national security interests of the United States. The sale will be from the U.S. Army inventory and will consist of 120mm M830A1 High Explosive Anti-Tank Multi-Purpose with Tracer (MPAT) tank cartridges and related equipment. The Pentagon emphasizes that the sale will have no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness.

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Concerns Raised by Human Rights Advocates

Human rights advocates have expressed concerns about the sale, arguing that it contradicts Washington’s efforts to urge Israel to minimize civilian casualties. As the conflict escalates, the usage of Israel’s Merkava tanks, which utilize the 120mm shells, has been linked to incidents involving the deaths of journalists. A recent Reuters investigation revealed that an Israeli tank crew fired two shells in quick succession, killing Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah and injuring six other reporters who were documenting cross-border shelling.

Conclusion: The emergency sale of tank shells to Israel by the Biden administration underscores the ongoing commitment to Israel’s security amidst the escalating conflict with Hamas. While human rights advocates raise concerns about potential civilian casualties, U.S. officials maintain that the sale aligns with U.S. national security interests. The use of U.S. weapons in the conflict continues to be under scrutiny, emphasizing the need for careful consideration of the consequences and adherence to international humanitarian law. As the situation unfolds, the impact of this sale on the conflict and the region remains to be seen.