US Considers $18B Arms Transfers To Israel

FILE - Israelis opposed to a contentious government plan to overhaul the judiciary wave Israeli and American flags during a protest in support of President Joe Biden, who criticized the plan this week, outside of the U.S. Embassy Branch Office in Tel Aviv, Israel, March 30, 2023. As Biden prepares to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week in New York, a new poll finds that while Americans generally view Israel as a partner or ally, many question whether his far-right government shares American values. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty, File)

The Biden administration is weighing whether to go ahead with a major $18 billion package of arms transfers to Israel that would involve dozens of F-15 aircraft and munitions, three sources familiar with the matter said on Monday.

The sale of 25 F-15s from Boeing to Israel has been under review since the United States received the formal request in January 2023, one of the sources said.

Speeding up the delivery of the aircraft was among the top asks by Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant who visited Washington last week and held talks with U.S. officials including U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, the second source said.

House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Michael McCaul gave the green light for the sale on Jan. 30, a committee aide said, when the relevant congressional offices responsible for approving major arms transfers were notified.

“Administration-Congressional deliberations on the F-15 case have already occurred,” the second source familiar with the matter said, but added that some of the four offices required to sign off on any arms transfers had yet to do so.

U.S. law requires Congress to be notified of major foreign military sales agreements, and an informal review process allows the Democratic and Republican leaders of foreign affairs committees to vet such agreements before formal notification to Congress.

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