US selling dozens of F-15s to Israel amid Gaza war

Two key Democrats in the US Congress have agreed to approve a major arms sale to Israel, including 50 F-15 fighter jets worth more than $18 billion amid pressure from the administration of US President Joe Biden, according to a report.

Citing three unnamed officials familiar with the issue, the Washington Post reported on Monday that Representative Gregory Meeks and Senator Ben Cardin, who had for months held up the sale, had signed off on the deal several weeks ago.

“The decision, which has not been previously reported, underscores the substantial appetite in Washington to continue the flow of arms to Israel despite concerns from younger members of Congress that the United States should use its leverage to pressure Israel to reduce the intensity of the war and allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza,” the newspaper said.

Meeks and Cardin are two of four lawmakers who can effectively veto a foreign military sale.

“Any issues or concerns Chair Cardin had were addressed through our ongoing consultations with the (Biden) Administration, and that’s why he felt it appropriate to allow this case to move forward,” Eric Harris, communications director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the daily in a statement.

Meeks stated he has been in “close touch” with the White House about the package and “repeatedly urged the administration to continue pushing Israel to make significant and concrete improvements on all fronts when it comes to humanitarian efforts and limiting civilian casualties”.

The State Department can now proceed with notifying Congress of the approved sale, the next step to completing the transaction.

If ultimately approved, the deal would be one of the largest arms sales to Israel since the war on Gaza began.

The United States has been providing the regime with thousands of tons of military equipment since Tel Aviv launched the war in October 2023.

Israel unleashed the Gaza onslaught on October 7 after Hamas-led Palestinian resistance groups carried out Operation al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in retaliation for its intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

The Tel Aviv regime has so far killed at least 37,350 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injured 85,372 others, according to the Gaza-based health ministry.

Tel Aviv has also imposed a “complete siege” on the territory, cutting off fuel, electricity, food, and water to the more than two million Palestinians living there.

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