FIRST ON FOX: The top Republicans on the Senate and House foreign policy committees are urging President Biden to expedite the planned weapons sales to Israel despite opposition from some Democrats concerned about further arming Israel amid the deadly Gaza conflict.
“We write to urge you to stand by Israel, resist calls to delay the sale of important munitions, and expedite the processing and delivery of those munitions as much as possible,” Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, said in a letter to Biden obtained first by Fox News.
McCaul and Risch are the GOP leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The Republicans’ letter to Biden comes as progressives, led by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Senate, are trying to force a vote on a resolution blocking the recent sale of $735 million in weapons from the U.S. to the Israel Ministry of Defense, including Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) and Small Diameter Bombs.
U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, is calling on President Biden to complete a planned arms sale with Israel.
Liberal Democrats in the House, led by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Mark Pocan, D-Wis., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., filed a similar resolution in the House on Wednesday seeking to block the White House-approved sale of arms to Israel.
“The United States should not be rubber-stamping weapons sales to the Israeli government as they deploy our resources to target international media outlets, schools, hospitals, humanitarian missions and civilian sites for bombing,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Wednesday.
The GOP lawmakers said the relevant congressional committees provided clearance on this “routine” arms deal weeks before the violence between Israel and Hamas broke out.
“Only now, as Israel strikes back against Iranian-backed Hamas terrorism, have voices called to halt the sale,” McCaul and Risch wrote to Biden. “Some appear to be mischaracterizing your consultations, as well as the legitimacy of this sale.”
GOP Sen. James Risch of Idaho joined with Rep. Michael McCaul to urge President Biden to stand by Israel.
The lawmakers said Israel has a right to defend itself and the United States has pledged to help maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge, including providing the “precision-guided munitions” through this most recent weapons deal.
“To withhold this sale now would call into question our commitment to Israel’s qualitative military edge, and the basic reliability and trustworthiness of the United States as an ally and a defender of democratic values,” the Republicans wrote.
“We must draw a firm line that the United States will stand with Israel and other allies in their hour of need,” they added.
The recent violence between Israel and Hamas has been the worst since a 50-day war in 2014. But the end could be near.
FILE – In this May 16, 2021, file photo, Palestinians rescue a survivor from the rubble of a destroyed residential building following deadly Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City. The Gaza Strip’s already feeble health system is being brought to its knees by the fourth war in just over a decade. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra, File)
Israel on Thursday announced a cease-fire in the bruising 11-day war against Hamas militants that caused widespread destruction in the Gaza Strip and brought life in much of Israel to a standstill.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced the cease-fire after a late-night meeting of his Security Cabinet. It said the group had unanimously accepted an Egyptian proposal, though the sides were still determining exactly when it was to take effect.
At least 230 Palestinians were killed, including 65 children and 39 women, with 1,710 people wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.
Twelve people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy, a 16-year-old girl and a soldier, were killed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.