Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced an amendment to the defense budget bill to suspend a missile sale to Israel.
US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez last week introduced an amendment to the US defense budget bill which would suspend the transfer of $735 million worth of Boeing Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) to Israel. JDAMs are kits that convert unguided bombs into precision-guided munitions.
The amendment was introduced alongside six others, including one to block arms sales to the Saudi unit allegedly involved in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and an amendment concerning the US’s relationship with Colombia.
Ocasio-Cortez’s office announced that the amendment concerning the sale of weapons to Israel was meant to “block the transfer of the same kind of Boeing weaponry that the Israeli government used to kill 44 Palestinians in one night in al-Rimal,” referencing an Israeli airstrike on the Hamas underground network that may have inadvertently led to a building collapse that killed 44 Gazans.
Ambassador to the US and the UN Gilad Erdan criticized Ocasio-Cortez for her new amendment on Sunday, stating he would “expect a Congressperson to understand that Israel is defending its citizens against Hamas”.
“Your amendment further legitimizes their heinous attacks against innocent civilians, as well as antisemitic lies,” Erdan wrote on Twitter. “Israel is a world leader in the fight against terrorism, and our partnership has helped prevent terrorist attacks against American citizens,” the ambassador added.
The Biden administration approved the sale of $725 million in JDAMs to Israel in May as Israel and Gaza fought in Operation Guardian of the Walls, according to The Washington Post. Congress was officially notified about the sale about a week before the fighting broke out.
During the fighting, US President Joe Biden expressed support for Israel, saying “my expectation and hope is this will be closing down sooner than later, but Israel has a right to defend itself”.
The congresswoman, along with a number of other House Democrats, including Rashida Tlaib, introduced a similar resolution shortly afterward.
“For decades, the US has sold billions of dollars in weaponry to Israel without ever requiring them to respect basic Palestinian rights. In so doing, we have directly contributed to the death, displacement, and disenfranchisement of millions,” said Ocasio-Cortez in a statement in May.
“At a time when so many, including President Biden, support a ceasefire, we should not be sending ‘direct attack’ weaponry to [then] Prime Minister Netanyahu to prolong this violence”.
The resolution in May was endorsed by over 70 organizations, including IfNotNow, Jewish Voice for Peace Action, and Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).