State Department Bypasses Congress For Israeli Munition Sale

( – The US State Department on Dec. 8 declared an emergency for the rapid sale of thousands of military ammunition to Israel, bypassing the standard 20-day review period granted to congressional committees.

The State Department requested Congress to swiftly approve the sale of over 40,000 shells for Israel’s Merkava tanks due to the ongoing conflict with Hamas in Gaza. The House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee, overseeing military sales, faced pressure to expedite the approval. The declaration followed this request.

Committees usually have a 20-day timeframe to review international military sales, providing lawmakers with enough time to review and delay the process if needed. However, last Friday night, the State Department urgently notified the committees about an emergency declaration for over 10,000 tank shells, valued at over $100 million, for immediate delivery to Israel.

According to the documents facilitating the sales, the items could be transferred right away, with no additional information provided.

The US government is sending munitions to Israel at this time due to increasing pressure from both inside and outside the country. Calls for the US to support a ceasefire in Gaza and put conditions on the weapons sent to Israel have emerged.

On Saturday, a State Department spokesperson said Secretary of State Antony Blinken informed Congress on Friday about an emergency. Blinken used his authority to approve sending tank munitions to Israel quickly. The spokesperson stressed that the US is dedicated to Israel’s security, seeing it as crucial for US interests. Helping Israel build a strong defense aligns with these goals.

The Israeli defense ministry has confirmed receiving over nine thousand tons of military equipment in military aid since the beginning of the war with Hamas. However, a US Defense Ministry spokesperson said the aid originated from “several countries.” However, they did not disclose the specific countries providing help or specify the amount provided by the United States.

The use of US weapons in Israel’s war has come under increased scrutiny following a report by Amnesty International this week. The report alleges that US-made precision-guided munitions were used in two October strikes, causing the deaths of more than 40 civilians.

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