Once Again, Biden Bypasses Congress to Approve Arms Sale to Israel

"When Israel runs out of rockets to murder children with they simply hold their hand out to daddy for more," said one critic.

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Citing “the urgency of Israel’s defensive needs,” the Biden administration on Friday said it would bypass Congress for the second time this month to approve an immediate arms sale to the key Middle East ally as it continues to wage a genocidal war against Gaza.

The Associated Press reported that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken notified lawmakers of the new emergency determination involving the sale of $147.5 million in equipment including fuses, charges, and primers for 155mm artillery shells that Israel has already purchased from the United States.

The unguided explosive rounds – which Israel is using in heavily populated urban areas – have a “kill radius” of about 50 meters, with shrapnel able to inflict lethal wounds on people hundreds of meters away.

“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to U.S. national interests to ensure Israel is able to defend itself against the threats it faces,” the State Department explained.

The move follows a similar State Department determination on December 9, which expedited 13,000 rounds of tank ammunition to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), whose troops have killed and maimed more than 80,000 Palestinians – mostly women, children, and elders – during 84 days of near-relentless attacks on Gaza.

Some of the deadliest Israeli attacks of the war have been carried out with U.S. weapons, including an October 31 airstrike with 2,000-pound bombs on the densely populated Jabalia refugee camp. More than 120 civilians were killed.

The State Department also said that “we continue to strongly emphasize to the government of Israel that they must not only comply with international humanitarian law, but also take every feasible step to prevent harm to civilians.”

Critics pushed back against that language, with Ibrahim Zabad, a professor of international relations at St. Bonaventure University in upstate New York, asserting on social media that the State Department’s move to bypass Congress “shows the U.S. administration wholeheartedly supports the mass slaughter of Palestinians, their ethnic cleansing, and the demolition of Gaza.”

British journalist Andy Worthington, known for his work chronicling the cases of Guantánamo Bay detainees, asked: “Do they think not enough Palestinian children are being orphaned or killed in Gaza?”

Eli Clifton, a senior researcher at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, noted Blinken’s lamentation Thursday that 2023 “has been an extraordinarily dangerous year for press around the world.” Blinken’s statement did not mention the scores of journalists killed – sometimes allegedly on purpose – by Israeli troops during the war.

The U.S. already gives Israel almost $4 billion in nearly unconditional military aid each year. Since the October 7 Hamas-led attacks and Israel’s retaliatory onslaught, U.S. President Joe Biden has repeatedly affirmed his “unwavering” support for Israel. His administration has blocked multiple global cease-fire efforts at the United Nations while seeking an additional $14.3 billion in armed assistance for Israel.

The United States has given Israel more than $150 billion in inflation-adjusted aid since the nation was founded in 1948 following a yearslong campaign of terrorism and ethnic cleansing.

While Biden recently decried Israel’s “indiscriminate bombing” of Gaza, he has refused to acknowledge what many international experts have called Israel’s genocide against the people of the besieged strip. Some activists have dubbed him “Genocide Joe.”

On Friday, South Africa filed a genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice.

Hundreds of rights groups and a handful of progressives in the U.S. Congress have implored the Biden administration to suspend military aid to Israel, while others including Democratic lawmakers have called for conditions to be placed on such assistance.

Earlier this month, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) led a letter urging Biden to boost oversight of how American arms are used against Palestinian civilians. The letter specifically mentions 155mm artillery shells.

“The IDF has previously used these shells to hit populated areas including neighborhoods, hospitals, schools, shelters, and safe zones, causing a staggering number of civilian deaths,” the senators noted.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll published on December 20, less than half of registered U.S. voters support sending military aid to Israel – an approximately 10-point decrease from the previous month.

Brett Wilkins is is staff writer for Common Dreams. Based in San Francisco, his work covers issues of social justice, human rights and war and peace. This originally appeared at CommonDreams and is reprinted with the author’s permission.

30 thoughts on “Once Again, Biden Bypasses Congress to Approve Arms Sale to Israel”

  1. As an American taxpayer, I think I should have a right to say, how my tax dollars are spent. Funding Israel’s slaughter of Palestinians, is something I cannot abide.

    1. You should ALWAYS have the right to say how your money is spent.

      But being a taxpayer is like being a mugging victim. After your money is stolen from you, it’s unrealistic to expect the thief to follow your desires on the matter.

    2. The US Federal Government is committed to giving Israel all the bombs it wants (while also keeping its forces in the Red Sea and Mediterranean to make sure no one else can intervene to stop the slaughter). The only solution I see is to elect representatives who will gum up the gears of government.

  2. Let’s get this right “ these are not our tax dollars “ we are trillions of dollars in debt. In the words of Ron Paul this is “ fiat currency “ no wonder life has no value to these people.

  3. White House 2023 ‘accomplishments’ include supporting Israel
    In a post on X, the White House laid out a series of actions it says the United States accomplished in 2023, including strengthening “democracy at home and abroad”.

    Under that category, it lists standing up for “our allies and partners in Israel and Ukraine”.


    1. Because that’s half the scam: “Aid to Israel comes back as jobs in ‘defense’ industries, since they’re required to spend it there.”

      Take your money. Tell you it’s for the “good cause” of helping Israel. If that doesn’t sound like a “good cause” to you, point to Bob down the street who has a well-paying job at Boeing and ask you why you’re such a mean and stingy person that you don’t want him to have a well-paying job at Boeing. If THAT doesn’t work, call you an anti-semite even if you just got home from the synagogue your grandparents helped establish after they survived Auschwitz and came to America.

      1. Israel makes enough selling its spyware. And “battle tested” war stuff, tested in Gaza.

  4. Biden reminds me of a scene from the movie “Awakenings”. Lucy Fishman is catatonic. She is unable to speak or move. But somehow, when Dr Sayer (Robin Williams) throws something in her direction, she instinctively catches it.

    1. Except here when you throw something in Biden’s direction he instantly sends 1,000 artillery rounds to Israel

  5. “a handful of progressives” That’s it. Just a handful of “progressives” are adamantly against funding the slaughter. My,my, my…………

  6. “The IDF has previously used these shells to hit populated areas including neighborhoods, hospitals, schools, shelters and safe zones, causing a staggering number of civilian deaths”, the senators noted.
    There are no safe zones where bombs or rockets are dropped. Any place that is damaged is a danger zone.
    Hundreds of rights groups and a handful of progressives have urged Biden to suspend aid to Israel, they should urge him to END AID TO ISRAEL and not suspend it. Many people say that Israel is guilty of human rights violations and ethnic cleansing but they fail to say another reason to end aid to Israel is that it is not a Developing Nation. Not only does Israel receive military and economic aid, it also receives the most military and economic aid in the world.

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