President Joe Biden’s administration has approved the sale of $735 million in weapons to Israel as the nation continues to battle a barrage of rockets fired by the terrorist organization Hamas from Gaza.
Congress was first notified of the potential sale on May 5, according to three people familiar with the matter, the Washington Post reported. The sale was proposed almost a week before Hamas began firing rockets into Israel, reportedly killing at least 10 Israelis so far.
A House Foreign Affairs Committee spokesperson confirmed that Congress was informed about the sale on May 5, noting that Boeing will provide the weapons to the Middle Eastern nation.
Late Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted, “Spoke today with Egyptian Foreign Minister Shoukry to discuss the ongoing violence in Israel, West Bank, and Gaza. All parties need to deescalate tensions – the violence must end immediately.”
Last week, President Biden spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, reaffirming the United States’ continued support for Israel.
“I had a conversation with Bibi Netanyahu not so long ago. I’ll be putting out a statement very shortly on that,” Biden told reporters at the White House. “My expectation and hope is that this will be closing down sooner than later. But Israel has a right to defend itself against thousands of rockets flying into your territory.”
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed the Biden administration’s actions leading up to the chaos erupting in the Middle East, criticizing its moves to reestablish the Iran deal.
“The Biden Administration has distanced itself from Israel by attempting to revive the failed Iran deal, siding with the Ayatollahs over our ally. America must be strong and defend its allies without hesitation,” Pompeo tweeted.
On Saturday, PM Netanyahu said Israel is prepared to continue the operation to “destroy the Hamas tunnel network” for “as long as necessary.”
“The party that bears the guilt for this confrontation is not us, it’s those attacking us,” Netanyahu said in a televised address, according to Reuters. “We are still in the midst of this operation, it is still not over and this operation will continue as long as necessary.”
“Unlike Hamas, which deliberately intends to harm civilians while hiding behind civilians, we are doing everything, but everything, to avoid or limit as much as possible harming civilians and to directly strike terrorists instead.”
The Israel Defense Forces tweeted that the target is the “Hamas ‘Metro’ tunnel system in Gaza,” with the operation utilizing 160 aircraft, tanks, artillery and infantry units.