President Joe Biden’s administration approved a plan to sell precision-guided weapons worth $ 735 million to Israel.
US congressional sources also said on Monday that US lawmakers are not expected to reject the deal despite the violence between Israel and Palestinian militants.
The three congress aides said Congress was officially informed of planned arms sales to Israel on May 5 as part of a regular review process before a major foreign arms sales agreement could proceed.
The sale was first reported by the Washington Post.
Congress was notified of the sale planned for April as part of an informal review process before official notification on May 5. Under US law, formal notification gives Congress 15 days to deny the sale. However, sources say the US Congress is unlikely to object to the arms sale.
The sale of the Joint Direct Attack Munition, or JDAM, made by Boeing Co, was considered a routine sale at the time, before violence broke out in Jerusalem and Gaza.
The Joint Direct Attack Munition is a tail-guided device that attaches to the bomb and converts the bomb into “smart” ammunition that can hit targets accurately even in bad weather, according to Boeing’s website.
The JDAM consists of a new tail section containing an inertial navigation system / global positioning system (INS / GPS) and wings for added stability and lift.
There were no objections at the time by Democratic and Republican leaders from the congressional foreign affairs committee reviewing the sale, aides said, Reuters reported.
When asked for comment, a US State Department spokeswoman noted that the department is restricted under federal law and regulations from publicly commenting, or confirming details of licensing activity related to direct commercial sales such as the JDAM agreement.
“We remain very concerned about the current violence and are trying to defuse tensions,” the spokesman said.
Strong support for Israel is a core value for both Democrats and Republicans of the US Congress, despite calls from some of the most progressive Democrats to take a tougher stance against Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.
US law allows Congress to refuse arms sales, but is unlikely to do so in this case. As Israel is among the few countries whose military deals are approved in an expedited process, the period for objections to arms sales will close before lawmakers can pass a disapproval resolution, even if they so wish.