April 20, 2024, 8:02 am

Why do arms continue to flow from US to Israel despite ceasefire resolution?

  • Update Time : Wednesday, April 3, 2024
  • 10 Time View
Photo: Collected

International Desk:

The UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire, a hostage release and large-scale delivery of food aid, was passed last Monday. Any sense that a US abstention on a UN ceasefire resolution signaled a radically different approach to the Gaza war by the Biden administration lasted only four days.

By Friday, the Washington Post was reporting on the latest consignment of billions of dollars worth of US bombs and planes for Israel.

According to a source familiar with the procedure, there was a delay of a few days in processing approval of 1,800 MK-84 2,000lb (907kg) bombs, which can flatten an apartment block and leave an 11-metre deep crater.

It is a devastating weapon that has reportedly been used frequently by the Israeli air force, playing a significant role in the estimated 33,000 death toll in Gaza since October.

The news that the nearly $4bn a year arms pipeline from the US to Israel remained in full uninterrupted flow drew a furious reaction from critics, who pointed to the irony of the Biden administration urging a ceasefire and the delivery of food aid into Gaza while supplying the weapons that fuel both the war and the humanitarian crisis.

“It’s like putting a Band-Aid over someone’s tiny finger cut while you’re continuing to stab them in the chest,” Rae Abileah, a Jewish American peace activist, said.

As a catastrophic famine begins to take hold in Gaza, administration officials have faced questions almost daily about why continued US military aid is not being made conditional on a change of Israeli behavior to limit the civilian death toll and significantly expand aid delivery.

Democrats of all hues, whether they support the current policy or not, say that a change of course by the Biden administration on arms supplies is highly unlikely, for both policy and political reasons.

“He is not going to do it. He fundamentally believes Israel has a right to defend itself, and he believes that in his heart,” said a former senior Biden administration official of the president, adding: “There is zero probability in my view.”

Joe Biden’s personal sense of commitment to Israel cemented over decades of close contact with Israeli leaders, is a large part of the reason his administration is so resistant to change.

“Biden considers himself to be part of Israel’s story, he has been involved for so long,” said Aaron David Miller, a former State Department negotiator on the Middle East now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

A key moment to watch, Miller suggested, would be on 8 May, when the State Department is due to issue a formal report on whether Israel is in compliance with international humanitarian law.

“I would be stunned if the administration made a judgment that the Israelis are out of compliance – in large part because Gaza is not the only issue,” Miller said.

Miller added that Hamas is the “least” of Israel’s problems. Putting conditions on arms would be a message to Hezbollah, the Iranians, the Syrians, and the Houthis, who are looking around and trying to see if they can break Israel apart.

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