Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken said the Biden administration would sell $ 732 million in arms 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 Egypt-brokered ceasefire last Thursday that halted fighting for more than a week.
The armistice lasted on Sunday.
“When it comes to gun sales, two things first,” Blinken said during an appearance on ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday.
“The president was just as clear. We are determined to give Israel the means to defend itself, especially when it comes to these indiscriminate rocket attacks against civilians. Any country would respond and we are committed to defending Israel,” said he.
The sales of the precision weapons would be in “full consultation with Congress” to ensure that they work effectively, Blinken said.
Sanders (I-Vt.) Passed a resolution in the Senate last Thursday to block the sale, the day after Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats introduced a similar measure in the House.
“At a moment when US-made bombs are ravaging Gaza, killing women and children, we cannot just allow another major arms sale without a Congressional debate,” Sanders, chairman of the Senate’s budget committee, said in a statement issued earlier the armistice was announced.
“We need to look carefully at whether selling these weapons is actually contributing to this, or if it is just fueling conflict,” he added.
During his Sunday appearance, Blinken credited President Biden with “effective diplomacy” in bringing about the ceasefire.
“We achieved the result, thanks to President Biden’s tireless focus on this calm – but in my opinion effective – diplomacy to reach a ceasefire and stop the violence in eleven days,” said the top US diplomat.
“If you go back and look at previous crises, they have lasted much longer, but of course every day these things go on we see a tremendous loss of human life and suffering, and we were determined to bring that to one End, ”he said.