Dave DeCamp / AntiWar.com
(May 17, 2021) — For the third time within one week, the US blocked a statement at the UN Security Council condemning Israeli violence against Palestinians and urging a ceasefire in Gaza. Israeli bombs have killed over 200 people since last Monday, including over 60 children.
The latest statement blocked by the US was introduced by Norway, Tunisia, and China after an emergency Security Council meeting on Sunday. According to a draft obtained by The Times of Israel, the statement expressed the Security Council’s “grave concern regarding the crisis related to Gaza and the loss of civilian lives and casualties, and called for de-escalation of the situation, cessation of violence and respect for international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians, especially children.”
Despite the US’s unwillingness to pressure Israel, other countries still want to push for a ceasefire at the UN. The UN General Assembly is set to discuss the Gaza onslaught on Thursday morning.
Israel shows no sign of seeking a de-escalation and continues to pound Gaza with airstrikes. On Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken indicated that the US is not pressuring its ally to seek a ceasefire. He said the US is willing to support a diplomatic solution but said, “Ultimately, it is up to the parties to make clear that they want to pursue a ceasefire.”
Last week, Hamas proposed a ceasefire to Israel through the Russian foreign ministry. Israel rejected the truce offer and instead decided to escalate its bombing campaign in Gaza. Without US pressure, Israel has no reason to ease up.
Biden Approves $735 Million Weapons Sale to Israel
(May 17, 2021) — A report from The Washington Post revealed that the Biden administration approved a $735 million arms sale to Israel. Congress was officially notified of the sale on May 5th, less than one week before Israel began its latest bombing campaign in Gaza, which, so far, has taken the lives of over 200 Palestinians, including over 60 children.
A congressional aide told The Hill that the bulk of the $735 million deal is for Boeing-made Joint Direct Attack Munitions, which can convert unguided bombs into precision-guided munitions.
US arms sales and military aid to Israel are nothing new, but the bombing campaign in Gaza is drawing more attention to this deal. There’s no chance Congress would move to block the sale, but some House Democrats are raising questions about leveraging such sales.
In light of the news, Rep. Ilhan Omar released a statement condemning the planned sale. “It would be appalling for the Biden Administration to go through with $735 million in precision-guided weaponry to Netanyahu without any strings attached in the wake of escalating violence and attacks on civilians. If this goes through this will be seen as a green light for continued escalation and will undercut any attempts at brokering a ceasefire,” Omar said.
While Omar is taking a strong stance against the sale, and other Democrats are voicing their concern, the view represents a super-minority in Congress, as most US lawmakers staunchly support Israel. Progressives have called for the US to leverage military aid to Israel, and legislation has been introduced that would require more oversightconcerning assistance to Israel, but these efforts have little support.
The Biden administration appears to have little interest in pressuring Israel to stop bombing Gaza. Within the past week, the US has blocked three UN Security Council statements calling for a de-escalation.
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