Biden-approved $735m sale of missiles to Israel draws criticism 4 months ago

Biden-approved $735m sale of missiles to Israel draws criticism

Congress was reportedly made aware of the sale on 5 May, weeks before the conflict in the Middle East began

US President Joe Biden has approved the sale of over $700m of precision-guided weapons to Israel, it has been reported, a decision which has dissatisfied some members of the Democratic Party.

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As reported by the the Washington Post, US Congress was formally notified of the proposed sale of guided missiles on 5 May, adding that three people were aware of the notification.

President Biden has called for Gaza and Israel to end the violence, but also said last week that Israel has a right to defend itself, following a phone call with the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Speaking publicly for the first time since the violence in the Middle East began, President Biden said: "My expectation and hope is that this will be closing down sooner rather than later, but Israel has a right to defend itself when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory."

The majority of Congress support President Biden's viewpoint, however an increasing amount of Democrats, predominantly in the House of Representatives, have raised the issue of the timing of the sale and have voiced concerns over supporting the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Some Democrats have proposed using the sale as leverage to argue for a ceasefire in the Middle East.

A Democratic lawmaker on the House Foreign Affairs Committee told the Washington Post: "In the past week, the Israeli military's strikes have killed many civilians and destroyed the building that housed the Associated Press, an American company reporting on the facts in Gaza.

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"Allowing this proposed sale of smart bombs to go through without putting pressure on Israel to agree to a ceasefire will only enable further carnage."

The death toll continues to rise as the conflict has not shown any sign of coming to an end.

In Gaza, approximately 212 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli air strikes, whilst ten people in Israel have been killed after rockets were fired from Gaza.