Israeli ammunition reserves are running out. The American government announced on Saturday that it had approved “as an emergency”, without going through Congress, the sale to Israel of nearly 14,000 tank shells used in its war against Hamas in Gaza.
The State Department notified Congress on Friday, invoking an “emergency” authorization, of the sale to its Israeli ally of 13,981 120 mm shells equipping the Merkava battle tanks engaged in the offensive in Palestinian territory, indicate in detail information in press releases from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Department of Foreign Affairs and Pentagon released Saturday. This military equipment represents a value of 106.5 million dollars.
According to Reuters, the Biden administration has asked Congress to approve the sale of a total of 45,000 shells for Israeli tanks.
“Secretary of State (Antony Blinken) determined and justified in detail to Congress that there was an urgency to immediately sell this equipment to the Israeli government (…) without the parliamentary review required by the legislation on control of arms exports,” said the American. diplomacy.
A divided Congress
On Wednesday, Congress – divided between a House of Representatives with a Republican majority and Democratic senators with a majority but themselves fractured – had failed to make progress on a huge aid program of more than 106 billion dollars on which the Democratic President Joe Biden had insisted, including funds. for Ukraine and Israel.
“The United States is committed to the security of Israel and it is crucial to its national interests to help Israel develop and maintain a strong self-defense capacity,” the State Department further justified.
Despite sometimes tense diplomatic relations, Washington is Israel’s main supporter and has provided it with $3.8 billion in military aid per year since 2016, under the presidency of Barack Obama.
The United States vetoed a UN Security Council resolution late Friday calling for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza.