HomePoliticsThe US House of Representatives votes to force arms shipments to Israel,...

The US House of Representatives votes to force arms shipments to Israel, rebukes Biden

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday that would force the president’s hand Joe Biden to send weapons to Israel, in an effort to rebuke the Democrat for delaying bomb shipments as he urges Israel to do more to protect civilians during its war with Hamas.

The Israel Security Assistance Support Act passed by a vote of 224 to 187, largely along party lines. Sixteen Democrats, like most Republicans, voted yes, and three Republicans, like most Democrats, voted against the measure.

The bill is not expected to become law, but its passage underscored the deep U.S. election-year divide over Israeli policy, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government seeks to root out the militants who attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people died and 253 hostages were captured. , according to Israeli figures.

Palestinian authorities say at least 35,272 civilians have been killed during Israel’s campaign in Gaza. Malnutrition is widespread and much of the coastal enclave’s population has been left homeless and infrastructure destroyed.

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Republicans accused Biden of turning his back on Israel after facing widespread pro-Palestinian protests.

“This is a catastrophic decision with global consequences. It’s clearly being taken as a political calculation, and we can’t let this stand,” Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson said Wednesday at a news conference with other party leaders.

Democrats also accused the other party of playing politics and said Republicans are distorting Biden’s position on Israel.

“It is not a serious legislative effort, which is why some of the most pro-Israel members of the House Democratic caucus will vote no,” House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries said at a news conference before the vote .

Israel, a major recipient of U.S. military aid for decades, will still receive billions of dollars in U.S. weaponry despite the delay of a shipment of 2,000-pound (907 kg) and 500-pound bombs and the review of other weapons. shipments by the Biden administration.

As recently as Tuesday, the State Department had placed a $1 billion arms aid package for Israel in the Congressional review process, US officials said.

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(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, additional reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Alistair Bell)

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