Report: US approves transfer of additional weapons to Israel despite political differences

Washington continues to supply weapons to Israel despite political differences

The US has approved transferring billions of dollars worth of bombs and aircraft to Israel, despite recent disagreements between their governments and public concerns about a possible Israeli ground invasion into the crowded Gaza town of Rafah, the Washington Post reported on Friday.
Some 1,800 MK84 2,000-pound bombs and 500 MK82 500-pound bombs are among the weapons in the transfer, anonymous Pentagon and White House officials told the newspaper. In addition, the State Department reportedly authorized the transfer of 25 F-35A aircraft and engines valued at around $2.5 billion. The transfers had originally been approved by Congress years ago as part of the annual $3bn+ military aid to the long-time ally, so they did not require new notification.
The use of the US-supplied bombs contributed to the rising death toll in Gaza, which Palestinian health officials said exceeded 32,000 by the end of March. West Jerusalem aims to eliminate the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which staged an incursion from the enclave into southern Israel in October, killing around 1,200 people and capturing scores of hostages.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) allegedly used the 2,000-pound bunker busters in its strikes on Gaza’s Jabalia refugee camp and around the Al-Shati refugee camp last year. The Jabalia bombings alone are believed to have claimed more than 100 lives, in what the UN later described as “disproportionate attacks that could amount to war crimes.”
Washington insists that Israel has provided the US with “credible and reliable written assurances” that any military aid provided has been used in accordance with international law. “We have not found them to be in violation,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told the press on Monday.
However, the rift between Washington and the Jewish state has become increasingly evident this week, when the US allowed a resolution urging for an immediate ceasefire to pass at the UN Security Council, instead of vetoing it. In response Israel canceled the planned visit of a high-level delegation to the US.

The delegation was supposed to discuss the planned Israeli military operation against Rafah, a city in the south of Gaza where more than 1.4 million of the enclave’s total population is currently taking refuge. The UN has warned that such an offensive will lead to massive loss of life, and even the White House has publicly urged Israel against the attack.
Israel has “no choice” but to send troops into the overcrowded Palestinian city, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US lawmakers on Wednesday, reiterating that the remaining Hamas strongholds must be completely eliminated.