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Biden administration begins early stages of process toward new $1 billion arms deal for Israel

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U.S. President Joe Biden returns to the Oval Office after announcing increased tariffs on Chinese goods to promote American investment and jobs in the Rose Garden of the White House May 14, 2024 in Washington, DC.


The Biden administration on Tuesday began the first steps in a process to advance a new $1 billion arms deal for Israel, according to two congressional sources.

The State Department has now opened discussions with the House and Senate Foreign Affairs committees about a possible sale, following Tuesday’s informal notification. There is no set timetable for when Congress will be formally notified of the sale, thus starting a clock for its approval.

The decision to launch the new arms deal comes as the Biden administration suspended the shipment of 2,000- and 500-pound bombs to Israel, citing opposition to the weapons used in the densely populated areas of Rafah.

The potential new billion-dollar arms sale would include the potential transfer of $700 million in tank ammunition, $500 million in tactical vehicles and $60 million in mortar shells, one of the congressional sources. The Wall Street Journal was first to report on the administration’s discussions with Congress about the sale.

The weapons under discussion will not arrive in Israel imminently. The sale would still need to be formally notified to and receive approval from Congress, which could be a lengthy process, potentially prolonged by congressional objections.

While U.S. officials said other cases of arms deliveries to Israel would be considered, they also said the United States would continue to ensure that Israel has the military capacity to defend itself, thus indicating that long-term arms deals would not be possible. be arrested at this time.

“We continue to send military assistance and we will ensure that Israel receives the full amount provided under the supplement. We have suspended the dropping of 2,000-pound bombs because we do not believe they should be dropped on densely populated cities. We are discussing this with the Israeli government,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Monday.

The State Department had no comment on the informal notification except to highlight Sullivan’s remarks.

The Pentagon also declined to comment.

This story has been updated with additional reporting.

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