This week the U.S. State Department approved almost $1.9 billion in new weapons for Israel. The approval comes just weeks after the Israeli rights group Breaking the Silence collected reports of possible violations of international law during Israel’s 2014 “Operation Protective Edge” in Gaza.
The weapons sale includes 14,500 kits to upgrade “dumb” bombs into precision-guided munitions, over 12,000 unguided bombs, and 50 Super Penetrator “bunker buster” bombs, designed to hit targets underground.
Also approved for sale were over 3,000 hellfire missiles, which the U.S. briefly withheld from Israel following last summer’s attack on Gaza. The 50-day assault killed over 2,200 people, most of whom were civilians.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency stated in its announcement of the arms sale that “the United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to U.S. national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability.”
“These munitions will enable Israel to maintain operational capability of its existing systems and will enhance Israel’s interoperability with the United States,” the agency said in the statement.