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Opinion

Biden Quietly OKs More 2,000-Pound Bombs & Warplanes for Israel

Much of the Gaza Strip lies in ruins. Credit: UNRWA/Ashraf Amra

NEW YORK, Apr 1 2024 (IPS) - Despite growing worldwide calls for an arms embargo, the Biden administration in recent days has approved the transfer of billions of dollars worth of new weapons shipments to Israel, including warplanes and 2,000-pound bombs that have been dropped on densely populated areas of Gaza with devastating results.

The Washington Post reported Friday that the administration has “quietly” authorized arms shipments including more than 1,800 MK84 2,000-pound bombs and 500 MK82 500-pound bombs, as well as 25 F-35A fighter jets and engines worth approximately $2.5 billion.

The transfers are the latest of more than 100 arms shipments authorized by the Biden administration since the October 7 attacks on Israel.

“‘Quietly,'” Palestinian American writer and political analyst Yousef Munayyer scoffed in response to the report. “This is cowardly from the administration. If you are going to be full backers of genocide, own it. We see you and history sees you as well.”

“It is scary to think of the world U.S. support for Israel is creating. A world with no rules, no limits in war, where norms don’t exist, and where genocide is supportable,” he added. “Good luck getting anyone to listen to you about international law after this.”

Edward Ahmed Mitchell, deputy executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations, said in a statement: “We strongly condemn the Biden administration’s unbelievable and unconscionable decision to secretly send hundreds of new 2,000-pound bombs and other weapons to support Benjamin Netanyahu’s genocide. Arming a war criminal makes you a war criminal.”

According to the Post: The 2,000-pound bombs, capable of leveling city blocks and leaving craters in the earth 40 feet across and larger, are almost never used any more by Western militaries in densely populated locations due to the risk of civilian casualties.

Israel has used them extensively in Gaza, according to several reports, most notably in the bombing of Gaza’s Jabalia refugee camp October 31. U.N. officials decried the strike, which killed more than 100 people, as a “disproportionate attack that could amount to war crimes.” Israel defended the bombing, saying it resulted in the death of a Hamas leader.

The Biden administration’s arms shipments to Israel continue despite urgent pleas from United Nations officials, international human rights groups, and some progressive U.S. lawmakers to stop arming Israel’s 175-day Gaza onslaught, during which Israeli bombs and bullets have killed more than 32,600 Palestinians—mostly women and children—while wounding over 75,000 others and damaging or destroying hundreds of thousands of homes, schools, hospitals, mosques, and other structures.

The International Court of Justice in January found that Israel is plausibly committing genocide in Gaza and ordered the country to prevent genocidal acts. However, Israel has been accused of ignoring the ICJ order, and amid ongoing atrocities—including the forced starvation of Palestinians—the court on Thursday issued another order demanding that Israel allow desperately needed humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Last December, when the death toll in Gaza stood at approximately 18,000, President Joe Biden implored the far-right government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop Israel’s “indiscriminate bombing” of Palestinian civilians in the embattled enclave.

However, U.S. support for Israel—which already included nearly $4 billion in annual military aid—has continued unabated, with the Biden administration seeking an additional $14.3 million in armed assistance and repeatedly bypassing Congress to fast-track emergency weapons shipments.

“The U.S. cannot beg Netanyahu to stop bombing civilians one day and the next send him thousands more 2,000-pound bombs that can level entire city blocks,” U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said on social media Friday. “This is obscene. We must end our complicity: No more bombs to Israel.”

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) told the Post that “the Biden administration needs to use their leverage effectively and, in my view, they should receive these basic commitments before greenlighting more bombs for Gaza. We need to back up what we say with what we do.”

Biden administration officials have claimed they don’t have any leverage over Israel, drawing ridicule from observers who point to the indispensable military and diplomatic support the U.S. provides.

The staggering death and destruction wrought by Israel’s assault on Gaza has drawn criticism from even staunch supporters of the key U.S. ally.

Referring to the worsening famine in Gaza—which one U.S. State Department official acknowledged anonymously to Reuters on Friday—New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote on social media: “Really, POTUS? With Gaza facing starvation and Netanyahu defying you over Rafah, you ship billions of dollars in additional weapons to Israel, including 2,000-pound bombs, without end-use restrictions? Bibi is rolling you.”

Source: Common Dreams

Brett Wilkins is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

IPS UN Bureau

 


  
 
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