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Biden Quietly Greenlights More Weapons For Israel

Above photo: Palestinians inspect a crater following three days of conflict with Israel ahead of a truce, in Rafah town in the southern Gaza Strip, on August 8, 2022. Saifd Khatib/ AFP.

President Joe Biden criticizes Israel for the slaughter and starvation of Palestinians in Gaza.

The White House has quietly authorized the transfer of billions of dollars in bombs and warplanes to Israel, the Washington Post reported on 30 March. The transfers come ahead of Israel’s anticipated invasion of Rafah in southern Gaza that would threaten the lives of over a million displaced Palestinian civilians sheltering in the besieged border city.

The weapons transfers include more than 1,800 MK-84 2,000-pound bombs and 500 MK-82 500-pound bombs, according to Pentagon and State Department officials.

Israel has extensively used the MK-84 2,000-pound bombs to kill large numbers of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, including 100 civilians in one strike in the Jabaliya refugee camp on 31 October.

The MK 84 bombs are rarely used by other countries’ militaries in urban areas due to their overwhelming power. One bomb can destroy an entire city block and leave a crater in the ground 40 feet wide.

Israel’s war on Gaza has killed over 32,000 Palestinians in the past five months, the majority women and children.

The State Department also authorized the transfer of 25 F-35A warplanes and engines valued at $2.5 billion, US officials told the Post.

“We have continued to support Israel’s right to defend itself,” a White House official boasted when speaking of the transfers. “Conditioning aid has not been our policy.”

Some Democrats have criticized President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken for the weapons transfers. Biden and Blinken have publicly criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for Israel’s killing of mass numbers of Palestinian civilians. But despite the public criticism of Netanyahu, Biden and Blinken continue to enthusiastically facilitate the flow of weapons.

 “The Biden administration needs to use their leverage effectively and, in my view, they should receive these basic commitments before greenlighting more bombs for Gaza,” Senator Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat from Maryland, said in an interview. “We need to back up what we say with what we do.”

Biden’s recurring approvals of weapons transfers are an “abrogation of moral responsibility, and an assault on the rule of law as we know it, at both the domestic and international levels,” said Josh Paul, a former State Department official involved in arms transfers who resigned in protest of Biden’s Gaza policy.

Israel will rely in part on the new weapons to invade Rafah, a key entry point for humanitarian aid for Gazans starving due to Israel’s siege.

A massive influx of aid trucks is required to stave off famine, but Israel has imposed tight restrictions on aid deliveries into Gaza that US officials have refused to challenge.

An invasion of Rafah would also prove to be “a bloodbath,” aid groups have warned, as the 1.3 million Palestinians sheltering in the city in southern Gaza have no safe place to go.

President Biden and his advisors “do not see the contradiction between sending more bombs to the Netanyahu government even as it is ignoring their demands with respect to Rafah and getting more humanitarian assistance to starving people,” Van Hollen added. “If this is a partnership it needs to be a two-way street.”

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