The US government has approved a $735 million sale of precision-guided missiles to Israel and awaits approval from the House of Representatives, the Washington Post reported on Monday citing sources familiar with the matter.
The White House has officially notified the US Congress of the proposed sale on May 5, just a week before violence between Israel and Hamas escalated, the report added.
Federal law requires the administration to inform Congress of such sales. Lawmakers have 20 days after the formal notification to stop the transaction.
Washington plans to provide Israel Joint Direct Attack Munitions. These weapons allow to transform so-called “dumb bombs” into precision-guided missiles, the Washington Post explained.
The proposed sale may face pushback from House Democrats as Washington’s unconditional support for Israel has increasingly come under scrutiny, particularly among the progressive caucus, the report noted.
The current escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict started earlier this month when unrest began in East Jerusalem over an Israeli court’s decision to evict several Palestinian families from the area.
The situation on the border between Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip has been deteriorating for the past week amid heavy rocket exchanges that have resulted in the death of nearly 200 Palestinians, including 58 children.
Israel has reported 10 people killed and 50 others seriously injured, while the Palestinian Red Crescent says that more than 1,300 Palestinians have been injured amid tensions with Israel.
Earlier, the United States is ready to lend its support to Israel and Palestine if they seek a ceasefire, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday.
“We call on all parties to ensure the protection of civilians, especially children, to respect international humanitarian law, to protect medical facilities, protect media organizations and protect UN facilities where civilians are desperately seeking shelter. And we are ready to lend support if the parties seek a ceasefire,” Blinken said at a joint press conference with Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod.
The US secretary of state also noted that Washington is working “intensively” to bring an end to the violence.