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U.S. Fast-Tracks $106.5 Million Tank Shell Sale to Israel

The Biden administration, using an emergency authority, has approved the expedited sale of approximately 14,000 tank shells worth $106.5 million to Israel without congressional review, as confirmed by the Pentagon.

The State Department invoked an emergency declaration under the Arms Export Control Act for the immediate delivery of these tank rounds to Israel, emphasizing the urgency of the sale.

This move is part of a larger proposed package worth over $500 million, which includes 45,000 shells for Israel’s Merkava tanks.

Strategic and Humanitarian Considerations

As the conflict in Gaza intensifies, the use of U.S. weapons in the region has garnered increasing scrutiny. U.S. officials have stated there are no plans to condition military aid to Israel or consider withholding it.

However, rights advocates have raised concerns over the sale’s alignment with efforts to minimize civilian casualties in the conflict.

A State Department official reiterated the U.S.’s stance that Israel must comply with international humanitarian law and avoid harm to civilians. The sale is seen as a commitment to Israel’s security and will bolster its defensive capabilities.

Justification and Equipment Details

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken provided detailed justification to Congress, stating that the immediate provision of the tank shells is in the national security interests of the United States.

The sale, from U.S. Army inventory, will consist of 120mm M830A1 High Explosive Anti-Tank Multi-Purpose with Tracer (MPAT) tank cartridges and related equipment.

Impact and Implications

The Pentagon has assured that the sale will not adversely impact U.S. defense readiness. It stated,

“Israel will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense.”

This assurance comes amidst reports linking Israel’s Merkava tanks, which use 120mm shells, to incidents involving civilian and journalist casualties.

With information from Reuters.

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