U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the Biden administration remains committed to providing Israel with what it needs to defend itself following the regime’s recent brutal airstrikes on Palestinians.
President Joe Biden “has been equally clear we’re committed to giving Israel the means to defend itself”, Blinken said in an interview with ABC News program This Week on Sunday. He also pointed to what he claimed to be the Biden administration’s “relentless, determined, but quiet diplomacy” in the region, saying it’s “what got us to where we needed to be”.
His remarks came as progressive U.S. legislators, including Democratic Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, have criticized Biden for his unequivocal support for Israel during its recent bombing campaign on the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli regime intensified its attacks on Palestinians in the holy city with the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. The escalation saw Israeli forces assaulting Palestinian worshippers and preventing them from gathering and performing their religious duties. Later in the month, the regime tried to evict Palestinians from the city’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
Gaza rose up in protest against the atrocities, with the regime responding with ramped up military attacks. Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, its fellow Gaza-based resistance movement, then started firing thousands of rockets against the occupied territories, eventually forcing the regime to accept a ceasefire on Friday.
Blinken also said in the interview on Sunday that “any arms sale is going to be done in full consultation with Congress, we’re committed to that. And we want to make sure that that process works effectively”. However, he declined to comment on calls by progressive US legislators to curb arms sales to Israel.
U.S. President Joe Biden has approved the sale of $735 million in precision-guided weapons to Israel. “The United States should not be rubber-stamping weapons sales to” Israel because it deploys “our resources to target international media outlets, schools, hospitals, humanitarian missions and civilian sites for bombing”, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on May 19, a day before a Gaza ceasefire was reached.
The New York lawmaker proposed a resolution that same day in the U.S. House of Representatives aiming to block the arms transfer, and a day later, Senator Bernie Sanders put forward a similar resolution in the Senate.