Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Biden administration will follow through with a $732 million arms sale to Israel — despite opposition from progressive Democrats like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas announced an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire last Thursday, halting more than a week of fighting.
The truce was still holding on Sunday.
“When it comes to arms sales, two things first,” Blinken said during an appearance Sunday on ABC News’ “This Week.”
“The president’s been equally clear. We are committed to giving Israel the means to defend itself, especially when it comes to these indiscriminate rocket attacks against civilians. Any country would respond to that, and we are committed to Israel’s defense,” he said.
The sale of the precision arms would be done in “full consultation with Congress” to ensure that it works effectively, Blinken said.
Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced a resolution in the Senate to block the sale last Thursday, a day after Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats introduced a similar measure in the House.
“At a moment when US-made bombs are devastating Gaza, and killing women and children, we cannot simply let another huge arms sale go through without even a Congressional debate,” Sanders, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said in a statement issued before the cease-fire was announced.
“We need to take a hard look at whether the sale of these weapons is actually helping do that, or whether it is simply fueling conflict,” he added.
During his Sunday appearance, Blinken credited President Biden’s “effective diplomacy” for bringing about the cease-fire.
“We got to the result, thanks to President Biden’s relentless focus on this quiet – but I think effective — diplomacy in getting to a ceasefire and stopping the violence in 11 days,” the US’ top diplomat said.
“If you go back and look at previous crises, they’ve lasted a lot longer, but of course every single day that these things go on, we see a tremendous loss in in human life and human suffering, and we were determined to bring that to an end,” he said.