Wed. Apr 17th, 2024
alert-–-biden-set-to-sell-up-to-50-f-15-fighter-jets-to-israel-for-$18-billion-in-biggest-arms-sale-to-tel-aviv-since-start-of-war-against-hamasAlert – Biden set to sell up to 50 F-15 fighter jets to Israel for $18 billion in biggest arms sale to Tel Aviv since start of war against Hamas

The White House is set to approve an $18 billion arms sale to Israel including several dozen F-15 fighter planes.

It would be the biggest arms sale by Washington to Tel Aviv since the start of Israel’s war against Hamas on October 7.

The sale has been under consideration since the United States received a formal request in January 2023.

Speeding up the delivery was among the main requests from Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant when he visited Washington last week.

The Biden administration is set to sell several dozen F-15s to Israel as tensions rise in the Middle East

The Biden administration is set to sell several dozen F-15s to Israel as tensions rise in the Middle East  

An Israeli air force F-15 fighter jet flies during an exhibition as part of a pilot graduation ceremony at the Hatzerim air base in southern Israel

An Israeli air force F-15 fighter jet flies during an exhibition as part of a pilot graduation ceremony at the Hatzerim air base in southern Israel

U.S. President Joe Biden is welcomed by Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu, as he visits Israel amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel, October 18, 2023

U.S. President Joe Biden is welcomed by Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu, as he visits Israel amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel, October 18, 2023

Gallant held talks with U.S. officials including Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

The F-15s need to be built and would not arrive in Israel for several years. 

Israel wants to increase its air power not just to fight Hamas but to deter the threat from Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah. 

The military package includes a large number of F-15 aircraft, aircraft munitions and support services, training, maintenance, and many years of contractor support during the lifecycle of the aircraft, which could be up to two decades.

CNN reported that the agreement may include up to 50 F-15s.

U.S. law requires Congress to be notified of major foreign military sales agreements, and the sale is likely to lead to heated debate.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (R) arrives to the US State Department to meet with US officials in Washington, DC, USA, 25 March 2024

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (R) arrives to the US State Department to meet with US officials in Washington, DC, USA, 25 March 2024

Defense Minister Gallant met with White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan

Defense Minister Gallant met with White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan

It comes at a time when Biden is under pressure from some Democrats to rein back support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Washington has publicly expressed concern about Israel’s anticipated military offensive in Rafah, the southernmost city of the Gaza Strip.

Many Palestinians have taken shelter after being displaced due to Israel’s nearly six-month-old Gaza assault.

Gallup polling shows the U.S. public less supportive than before on Israeli military action in Gaza

Gallup polling shows the U.S. public less supportive than before on Israeli military action in Gaza

Photo taken on April 1, 2024 shows destroyed buildings near the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City

Photo taken on April 1, 2024 shows destroyed buildings near the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City

Destruction in the northern Gaza Strip following Israeli airstrikes, as seen from the southern Gaza Strip

Destruction in the northern Gaza Strip following Israeli airstrikes, as seen from the southern Gaza Strip

Israel launched an offensive in Gaza after terror group Hamas launched a horrific assault on southern Israeli communities on October 7, killing 1,200 people and abducting 253 hostages.

Washington gives $3.8 billion in annual military assistance to its longtime ally.

U.S. officials have criticized Israel over the high Palestinian civilian death toll in Gaza.

But they have so far resisted calls to put conditions on weapons transfers to Israel.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli embassy in Washington on the sale of F-15s.

Congress can block such arms sales by passing a resolution of disapproval over human rights violations or other concerns.

However, no such resolution has ever passed and survived the presidential veto.

An informal review process allows the Democratic and Republican leaders of foreign affairs committees to vet such agreements before a formal notification to Congress.

Michael McCaul, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has already given the green light for the F-15 sale.