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Two key Democrats in US Congress approve major arms sale to Israel, Washington Post reports

By Thomson Reuters Jun 17, 2024 | 7:02 PM

(Reuters) – Two key Democrats in the U.S. Congress have agreed to support a major arms sale to Israel that includes 50 F-15 fighter jets worth more than $18 billion, the Washington Post reported on Monday, citing three unnamed officials.

Representative Gregory Meeks and Senator Ben Cardin have signed off on the deal under heavy pressure from the Biden administration after the two lawmakers had for months held up the sale, the Post reported.

“Any issues or concerns Chair Cardin had were addressed through our ongoing consultations with the (Biden)Administration, and that’s why he felt it appropriate to allow this case to move forward,” Eric Harris, communications director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the Post in a statement.

Meeks told the paper that he had been in close contact with the White House and had urged them to pressure Israel over humanitarian efforts and civilian casualties. He said the F-15s would not be delivered until “years from now,” according to the Post.

Neither lawmaker’s office responded immediately to a request for comment.

Biden has come under increasing pressure from members of his own Democratic party over his unstinting support of Israel in the face of its eight-month-old assault on Gaza that has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians and displaced nearly the entire 2.3 million population.

Biden has pressed both sides in the conflict to reach a cease-fire.

(Reporting by Eric Beech and Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Dan Burns)