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2 key Democrats in US Congress approve $18bn arms sale to Israel, media reports

June 18, 2024 at 8:41 am

Protestors called for the US to stop sending weapons to Israel, and held signs that said ‘starvation is a war crime,’ ‘stop arming genocide” and ‘free gaza.’ in Jerusalem on Friday, 24 May, 2024 [EMILY GLICK/Middle East Images/AFP via Getty Images]

Two key Democrats in the US Congress have agreed to support a major arms sale to Israel that includes 50 F-15 fighter jets worth more than $18 billion, the Washington Post reported yesterday, citing three unnamed officials, Reuters reports.

Representative Gregory Meeks and Senator Ben Cardin have signed off on the deal under heavy pressure from the Biden administration after the two lawmakers had for months held up the sale, the Post reported.

“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 Post in a statement.

Meeks told the paper that he had been in close contact with the White House and had urged them to pressure Israel over humanitarian efforts and civilian casualties. He said the F-15s would not be delivered until “years from now,” according to the Post.

Neither lawmaker’s office responded immediately to a request for comment.

Biden has come under increasing pressure from members of his own Democratic party over his unstinting support of Israel in the face of its eight-month-old assault on Gaza that has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians and displaced nearly the entire 2.3 million population.

READ: US-manufactured munition employed in lethal Rafah strike: Report