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The US considers selling Israel an 18 billion USD weapons package, including F-15 fighters

Apr 02, 2024

Washington [US], April 2: The US government is considering an $18 billion arms deal with Israel, while Israel "considers" Washington's concerns about plans to attack the city of Rafah in southern Gaza.
Reuters quoted five sources on April 1 saying that US President Joe Biden 's administration is considering selling weapons to Israel including 25 F-15 fighter jets manufactured by Boeing. According to one of the sources, this deal has been under consideration since the US received an official request from Israel in January 2023, long before Israel launched the war in Gaza.
A second source revealed that speeding up the aircraft delivery process was one of the top requests of Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant during his visit to Washington DC last week. Here, Mr. Gallant held talks with top US officials, including National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
President Biden is facing pressure from foreign partners, human rights groups and some Democratic members of Congress to impose conditions on arms transfers to curb the military campaign. of Israel in Gaza. The war that broke out from October 2023 until now has killed more than 32,000 Palestinians.
A US official said that the earliest the F-15 aircraft will be delivered to Israel is 2029, that is if the official notification is sent to the US Congress tomorrow (April 2) and is completed. right away.
Israel is looking to beef up its already formidable fighter fleet not only to continue fighting against Hamas in Gaza but also to deter any further threats from Hezbollah in Lebanon, as well as like from Iran, Israel's long-time rival.
Chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee Michael McCaul gave the green light to the above F-15 deal on January 30, when congressional offices responsible for approving major arms transactions were notified, according to a deputy. this dozen committees.
"Discussions between the administration and the (US) Congress on that F-15 deal have taken place," another source said. But this source revealed that some of the four offices required to approve any arms transfers have not yet done so.
US law requires Congress to be notified of major arms deals with foreign countries and allows Congress to block the transaction. An informal process allows foreign affairs committee leaders to review such agreements before formally notifying Congress.
Washington has publicly expressed concern about the military effort that Israel plans to pursue in Rafah, the southernmost city of the Gaza Strip, where many Palestinians are taking refuge after being evacuated because of the conflict. President Biden has called on Israel not to launch a large-scale attack in Rafah to avoid further civilian casualties.
Reuters reported that Israeli officials on April 1 agreed to consider US concerns about the Rafah attack plan, according to a joint statement issued after an online meeting between officials from both sides. The two-and-a-half-hour meeting ended with plans to hold further face-to-face talks early next week, the statement said.
"The American side expressed its concerns with various actions in Rafah. The Israeli side agreed to consider these concerns and will hold discussions among experts," the statement said.
There were no immediate signs that US and Israeli negotiators had reached any agreement on a path forward in Rafah.
Source: Thanh Nien Newspaper