White House Bypasses Congress Again To Sell Israel Weapons

The Joe Biden Administration decided for the second time in December to make an emergency arms sale to Israel without approval from Congress as its war against Hamas in Gaza continues for a third month.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Congress he had made the second emergency decision to approve over $147.5 million in equipment sales to Israel, according to a State Department announcement Friday. The sales include fuses, charges, and primers needed to make the Israeli state’s inventory of 155 mm shells operational.

“Given the urgency of Israel’s defensive needs, the secretary notified Congress that he had exercised his delegated authority to determine an emergency existed, necessitating the immediate approval of the transfer,” the department confirmed in the statement.

“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to U.S. national interests to ensure Israel can defend itself against the threats it faces. This proposed sale is consistent with those objectives,” the statement added.

Under the Arms Export Control Act, the State Department can legally sidestep Congress’ role to review foreign military arms sales. The law intends for the State Department to use the emergency power sparingly and only in the event of a truly urgent crisis. On Dec. 9, Blinken used these powers to send tank ammunition to Israel.

The State Department’s emergency decision came as a $106 billion aid package for Israel and Ukraine remained stalled in Congress. Republicans insist that aid to Ukraine should include increases in border security for the United States border with Mexico, which is currently facing record levels of illegal crossings. Democrats and Republicans have not been able to agree.

Members of the informal “Squad” of eight delegates on the left wing of the Democrat Party have demanded that aid to Israel include a provision requiring a ceasefire in Gaza. Israel faced mounting scrutiny as the civilian death toll surpassed 21,000. International authorities, however, have long known the Hamas terror group to use human shields as a tactic of warfare.

Hamas started the current war in Gaza on Oct. 7 with a terrorist attack on the Israeli border that killed 1,200 people in Israel. The group still holds over 100 hostages.