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US skips congressional review to send 14,000 tank shells to Israel

This image shows Israeli regime forces with Merkava tanks at an undisclosed location in the occupied Palestinian lands. (File photo by EPA)

The United States State Department has used emergency authority to skip its routine congressional review to send a shipment of about 14,000 tank shells to Israel.

The Pentagon said in a statement on Saturday that the State Department had applied the Arms Export Control Act emergency declaration to expedite the shipment of the tank rounds worth $106.5 million for emergency delivery to the Israeli regime.

The shells are part of a bigger package, which includes 45,000 rounds of Merkava tank shells, requested by the Biden administration from Congress for the Israeli regime.

According to the Pentagon statement, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has provided detailed justification to Congress that the tank shells must immediately be provided to Israel in the national security interests of the US.

The Israeli regime has been pounding the Gaza Strip for more than two months from land, air, and sea, killing at least 17,700 Palestinians since October 7.

The war broke in Gaza following a surprise operation by Gaza’s resistance groups in response to decades of violence and oppression against defenseless Palestinians. 

According to Ashraf al-Qudra, the spokesperson for Gaza’s Health Ministry there is “no safe place to go in the Gaza Strip.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has described the war on the besieged territories as a “humanitarian nightmare.”

On Friday, the US, Israel’s traditional ally, vetoed a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. The vote came after Guterres, in a rare move, formally warned the 15-member council of a global threat from the two-month war on Wednesday.

Since the start of the war in Gaza, the US has ramped up military aid to Israel. On October 20, the White House asked the Senate to scrap the restrictions on Israel’s access to weapons from a crucial US stockpile in its latest supplementary budget request.

This would enable Israel to access more high-powered US weapons at a reduced cost, with less congressional oversight.

Israel’s Merkava tanks, which use 120mm shells, are also linked to incidents that involved the death of journalists.

According to a recent investigation by Reuters two Israeli tank shells killed Reuters video journalist Issam Abdallah and wounded six other reporters.

The tanks also are used by the Israeli army to surround al-Awda Hospital in Jabalia in northern Gaza and Gaza’s Indonesian Hospital killing dozens of health workers, patients, and Palestinians who sought refuge at healthcare centers from relentless Israeli bombardments.

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