Skip to main content

War on Gaza: US to send $1bn more in weapons, ammo, to Israel despite Rafah tensions

US official says arms transfers 'proceeding as scheduled'
US President Joe Biden speaking at the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies' 30th Annual Gala, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, US on 14 May 2024 (Reuters/Evelyn Hockstein)
US President Joe Biden speaking at the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies' 30th Annual Gala on 14 May 2024 (Reuters/Evelyn Hockstein)

The Biden administration told key US lawmakers it would send over $1bn in additional arms and ammunition to Israel, three congressional aides told the AP.

It was unclear, however, when the arms would be delivered.

The major transfer of military aid, initially reported by the Wall Street Journal, comes a week after the White House paused a single transfer of 1,800 2,000-pound (907kg) bombs and 1,700 500-pound (227kg) bombs to Israel, citing concerns over the lives of civilians in Gaza.

US President Joe Biden had also said that we would stop sending offensive arms to Israel should it carry out a large-scale invasion of Rafah.

The congressional aides said the package revealed on Tuesday includes about “$700 million for tank ammunition, $500 million in tactical vehicles, and $60 million in mortar rounds”.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked


While it is not known whether this was part of a previous existing arms sale or something new, and despite reported tensions between Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a US official told the Washington Post that “arms transfers are proceeding as scheduled”.

Mounting pressure

The news comes as Biden is facing increasing internal pressure regarding his support for Israel in its war in Gaza, which has led to accusations of genocide.

The president’s fellow Democrats are divided, with some trying to pressure him to limit arms transfers to Israel while others believe he should persevere.

Republicans, on the other hand, are planning to advance a bill that would “mandate the delivery of offensive weaponry for Israel”.

Investigations by leading human rights groups have found that Israel has targeted civilians and aid workers in Gaza and Lebanon using US weapons.

Additionally, while a US report was inconclusive on Israel’s use of American weapons, it did find that the country may have violated international law but stopped short of making a final assessment.

War on Gaza: Israeli bombing kills 40 in Nuseirat as Jabalia and Rafah fighting rages
Read More »

“Given Israel's significant reliance on U.S.-made defence articles, it is reasonable to assess that defence articles covered under NSM-20 have been used by Israeli security forces since 7 October in instances inconsistent with its [international humanitarian law] obligations or with established best practices for mitigating civilian harm,” the US State Department said in the report.

Developments from Gaza

Six people were killed in two separate Israeli attacks on apartments overnight in Gaza City, including a mother and her child, as Israeli forces continue to carry out strikes across the Gaza Strip.

The strikes come as the death toll from yesterday’s attack on a school and a home in Nuseirat, central Gaza, killed rose to at least 40 people.

Additionally, Palestine’s Wafa news agency reported that the European Hospital in Khan Younis is now out of service as power generators have run out of fuel.

Intense fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian factions continued in the north and south of the Gaza Strip, with Israel saying one of its soldiers was killed in Rafah on Tuesday, bringing the total reported deaths of Israeli soldiers to 273 since the start of ground operations in Gaza.

Over 35,000 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the war in Gaza, according to the enclave's health ministry.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.