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White House requests removal of restrictions on Israel’s access to its weapons stockpiles

November 26, 2023 at 9:18 am

Israeli Forces continue preparations by deploying tanks and armored assets along the Gaza border as Israeli attacks continue on the 47th day on November 22, 2023 [Mostafa Alkharouf – Anadolu Agency]

The United States’ government has requested the removal of restrictions on Israel’s access to all categories of arms and ammunition from American weapons’ stockpiles within the occupation state, in a move which could effectively grant Tel Aviv a blank cheque for arms sales.

In the White House’s supplemental budget request which was sent to the US Senate on 20 October, a request to lift restrictions on the access Israel could have to weapons stored in the country by American forces was included.

According to the proposed budget, the request would “allow for the transfer of all categories of defense articles.” It refers to the weapons stockpiles within Israel that the Pentagon established for use in regional conflicts, and which Israeli forces have been allowed to access in limited circumstances until now.

Although the stockpiles have largely been shrouded in secrecy over the decades since the 1980s when they were set up, they further came to light when hundreds of thousands of artillery shells and arms from the caches were transported to Ukraine early this year.

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Currently, a set of strict requirements manage the stockpiles, of which Israel has been allowed to draw on them and buy the weapons at a cheaper price if done through the subsidy of US military aid to the occupation forces.

Known as the War Reserve Stockpile Allies-Israel (WRSA-I), Washington is only meant to spend $200 million per fiscal year – half of the total cap for all US stockpiles around the world – on restocking the caches. If the proposed budget is approved, however, it would effectively set no limit on the amount provided and lift other restrictions on the stockpiles in Israel.

As the document states, it would “remove the requirement that these articles be obsolete or surplus to DOD [Department of Defence]; allow DOD greater flexibility in determining the value of the concessions provided in exchange for the transfers; and provide for the possibility of shortening the 30-day prior notice period in extraordinary circumstances.”

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