Biden plans on sending more weapons and bombs to Israel: Wall Street Journal

Ahram Online , Saturday 17 Feb 2024

The White House is sending more air-dropped bombs to Israel amid Tel Aviv's pronounced intentions to carry out a ground assault on Rafah.

Joe Biden
File Photo: US President Joe Biden is greeted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Ben Gurion International Airport, October 18, 2023. AP


The new weapons delivery would comprise thousands of FMU-139 bomb fuzes, KMU-572 JDAM guidance kits, and MK-82 500 lb bombs, according to a report by the WSJ on Saturday. 

The delivery remains a proposal which is subject to internal review before being formally approved by Congress.

The WSJ report comes as the Biden administration remains committed to supporting the declared objectives of the Netanyahu government of destroying Hamas and achieving "total victory" in the Gaza war.

It also comes as Netanyahu and his war cabinet continue warmongering about intentions to carry out a ground assault on Rafah.

Target Rafah

Various Western leaders have urged Israel not to carry out a ground invasion of Rafah, warning of catastrophic consequences for hundreds of thousands of civilians.

More than 1.5 million displaced Palestinians have sought refuge in the southernmost governorate of the strip after four months of Israeli bombing of the strip.

Despite an international outcry, on Friday, Yoav Gallant, Israel’s defence minister, reiterated that Israel is forging ahead with preparations to attack Rafah.

In Washington, President Biden sidestepped increasing domestic pressures to call for a ceasefire to end the carnage in Gaza by "urging" Israel not to carry out the operation in Rafah without a "credible" plan to "protect civilians," suggesting Tel Aviv should focus instead on reaching a humanitarian ceasefire and prisoner exchange deal with Hamas.

Domestic opposition to the Gaza war

Since the start of the war, hundreds of thousands have protested in various cities across the US demanding that Washington call for a ceasefire in Gaza, with many demanding an end to US military and political support to Israel.

Many voices inside the State Department and the White House have also expressed outrage at the unconditional support given by Washington to Tel Aviv as Israel uses US weapons to kill and wound more than 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza and reduce the strip to rubble.

A recent poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed that half of US adults say Israel's military campaign in Gaza has “gone too far,” a finding driven mainly by growing disapproval among Republicans and political independents.

Broadly, the poll showed support for Israel and the Biden administration's handling of the situation ebbing slightly further across the board.

The poll also showed only 31 percent of US adults approve of Biden's handling of the conflict, including just 46 percent of Democrats.

In mid-January, 11 senators joined Senator Bernie Sanders, an outspoken critic of the human toll of the Israeli war on civilians in Gaza, in the procedural vote to decide whether to investigate human rights abuses in the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.

That vote was defeated after opposition from 72 senators.

Amid growing domestic opposition to the Gaza war - and a wider US embroilment in a wider war in the region - the Biden administration remains steadfast in its support of Israel, using its veto power in the United Security Council to derail or defeat all resolutions for a permanent ceasefire.

Terms of weapon transfer

The proposed weapons transfers come despite a directive issued last week by Biden authorizing the swift cutoff of military aid to countries that violate international protections of civilians.

The directive was intended to shore up Biden's support among Senate Democrats for his proposed $95 billion military aid bill for Ukraine and Israel.

The bill passed the Senate earlier this week and is now headed to the House.

Human rights advocates have criticized Washington's double-speak on respecting international law.

“The issue was never knowledge" of US military aid being used in violation of international law “so much as enforcement,” said Kenneth Roth last week, a former head of Human Rights Watch and a visiting professor at Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.

The administration also has quietly lobbied against moves by independent Senator Bernie Sanders and others to attach conditions to military aid to Israel in the supplemental legislation, with the idea of pressuring Israel to reduce civilian casualties.

US complicit in killing Palestinians?

Since the start of the Israeli war on Gaza, the US has airlifted new lethal weaponry and replenished all depleted ammunition to Israel.

The US sent air defences and extra interceptors to replenish Israel's Iron Dome, which repels incoming short-range rockets and artillery.

As of mid-December, the US had sent more than 200 cargo planes with 10,000 tonnes worth of arms, military gear, armoured vehicles, and weaponry.

It also sent other high-explosive weapons – like the MK-80 series of bombs – that were used by the Israeli air force in carpet bombing that killed thousands of civilians and reduced populated areas in the strip to rubble.

It also covertly supplied Israel with 2,000-pound "bunker buster" bombs which killed thousands more civilians.

The Biden administration had bypassed Congress numerous times to get weapons into the hands of Israeli soldiers. 

The weapons are often purchased by Israel using the $4 billion in aid that it receives each year from the US. 

“We are not putting any limits on how Israel uses weapons,” said Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh last October. 

“That is really up to the Israeli army to use and how they are going to conduct their operations,” she added. 


*Mohamed Badereldin and Mohamed Hatem contributed to this report

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