Biden Administration Uses Emergency Powers to Sell Tank Shells to Israel
In a move that has sparked controversy, the Biden administration has used emergency powers to allow the transfer of military equipment to Israel without review by Congress. The Pentagon stated on Saturday (December 9) that about 14,000 tank shells were sold to Israel, under an emergency declaration issued by the U.S. State Department.
The emergency declaration, issued under the Arms Export Control Act, enabled the immediate shipment of tank shells worth $106.5 million to Israel. This comes as part of a larger proposed sale, worth more than $500 million, including 45,000 shells for Israel’s Merkava main battle tank, which has been deployed in offensive operations against Hamas in Gaza.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken provided Congress with a detailed rationale for the sale of the arms, stating that it is in the national security interests of the United States that tank shells be provided to Israel immediately. The sale will come from the U.S. Army’s inventory of 120mm M830A1 high-explosive anti-tank multi-purpose artillery shells and related equipment.
According to the Pentagon, Israel will use the enhanced capabilities as a deterrent against regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense, and the sale would not adversely affect U.S. defense readiness.
The move to bypass Congress’ usual review period has been met with criticism, as the House Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have been under pressure from the State Department to quickly approve requests for arms sales during Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.
In response to the sale, a State Department spokesperson stated that the United States is committed to Israel’s security, and assisting Israel in developing and maintaining a strong, ready self-defense capability is critical to the United States‘ national interests. The spokesperson also emphasized the importance of Israel abiding by international humanitarian law and taking all feasible measures to avoid harm to civilians.
Since the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7, Israel has received 200 transport aircraft of military equipment from “multiple countries”, according to the Israeli Ministry of Defense. While the aid came from “several countries,” the Defense Department declined to disclose what other countries had provided aid or how much of it came from the United States.
The sale of tank shells to Israel under emergency powers has reignited the debate over U.S. military aid to the region and the use of emergency powers to bypass congressional oversight. The comprehensive report by Epoch Times reporter Zhang Ting provides a detailed look into the controversial move, raising questions about the implications for U.S. foreign policy and the ongoing conflict in the region.