A newspaper report revealsThe Guardian“How Israel uses ammunition stocks from warehouses owned by the US government, without transparency since the beginning of the war on October 7th, which is currently raising controversy with mounting pressure within the administration of US President Joe Biden, due to its position on the Gaza war.
The depots were first established in the 1980s to quickly supply US forces for any future conflicts in the Middle East. But over time, Israel was allowed in some cases to benefit from these stocks, according to the newspaper.
In addition to the American weapons depots in Israel, the contents of which were shrouded in secrecy for a long time, there is an air and sea bridge that included 244 American transport planes and 20 ships that delivered more than 10,000 tons of weapons and military equipment to Israel since the beginning of the war, according to what the newspaper reported.The Times of Israel“, Monday, on Israeli Channel 12.
In interviews with The Guardian, several former US officials familiar with US security aid to Israel described how the stockpile allows rapid weapons transfers to the Israeli military, without congressional oversight.
The dilemma lies in the escalation of pressure within the US administration, as the United States faces questions about the quantities and categories of bombs it provides to Israel and the percentage that is provided through the secret stockpile prepared in advance inside Israel, especially with the Israeli army dropping tens of thousands of bombs on Gaza, killing more than 20,000 people and tens of thousands more injured, according to local authorities.
Lawmakers in Congress raised concerns about White House proposals that would ease rules related to weapons in American warehouses in Israel, and give the Pentagon greater flexibility to make quick transfers of this arsenal to the Israeli army.
What is most concerning to some is that these warehouses are full of so-called dumb munitions, which do not contain advanced guidance systems, and are simply dropped from airplanes, according to Josh Paul, who recently resigned from the State Department in protest against Washington’s continued deadly aid to Israel.
An American intelligence assessment monitors the size of the “stupid bombs” in the Gaza war
A recent US intelligence assessment concluded that nearly half of the air-to-ground bombs Israel used in its war against Hamas in Gaza were unguided, or so-called “stupid bombs.”
In 2020, this abundance of stupid munitions in stockpiles was highlighted by a pro-Israel think tank, the American Jewish Institute for National Security, which stated that the contents of these warehouses are “outdated” due to the large amount of unguided bombs, and a shortage of Quantity of precision guided munitions (PGMs).
Israel relied heavily on these low-precision unguided munitions in its war on Gaza, which weapons experts say undermined the Israeli army’s pledges that it was trying to reduce civilian casualties, according to The Guardian.
Israel did not deny its use of unguided munitions, which can pose significant risks to civilians when used in densely populated areas. Its air force repeatedly shared photos on social media at the beginning of the attack with stupid bombs, such as M117 shells.
It is not possible to confirm the frequency with which M117 shells were used in Gaza or how they were deployed, but between 40 and 45 percent of the munitions used by Israel were unguided, according to what the network reported.CNNAccording to intelligence sources, on December 14.
Human Rights Watch accused the Israeli army of using white phosphorus munitions in Gaza and Lebanon, noting that the use of such weapons threatens civilians with serious and long-term injuries.
Last October 12, the organization said that it had verified videos taken in Lebanon and Gaza on October 10 and 11, showing multiple aerial explosions of white phosphorus artillery over the port of Gaza City and two rural sites along the Israeli-Lebanese border.
In its comment, the US Department of Defense (the Pentagon) stated that it had seen reports about Israel’s use of phosphorus bombs, but said, “We have not provided Israel with any phosphorous weapons since October 7, and we cannot verify whether the aforementioned munitions were provided by us in the past.”
Washington responds to reports of Israel’s use of American-made phosphorus bombs
The Pentagon denied on Monday that the United States had supplied Israel with any phosphorus weapons since October 7.
White phosphorus is considered an incendiary weapon under the Third Protocol to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Conventional Weapons, which prohibits its use against military targets located among civilians.
Israel said it does not use internationally banned bombs.
The Guardian quoted a former senior American official familiar with American weapons depots in Israel as saying: “When it comes to air-to-ground munitions, we will provide them with everything they need, although Israel has its own locally produced supply of unguided munitions. “Unlike PGMs where they largely rely on their purchases from the United States.”
On the other hand, Sarah Harrison, a former lawyer at the US Department of Defense who now works as an analyst at the Crisis Group, pointed out that the presence of American weapons depots in Israel does not mean that access to what is in them is available at any time.
She said: “There is only one other stock like this, in South Korea, but this does not allow Israel to take things from warehouses for free, as there must be legal authority for every transfer of equipment.”
But Josh Paul, a former State Department official, said, “The US government currently makes retroactive military sales, which sometimes may not need to notify Congress, depending on what they took and the quantities.”
Paul, who until October worked on foreign arms transfers, expressed concern about accelerating arms transfers to Israel “because they might bypass pre-transfer controls imposed by the State Department. There is no human rights review, there is no regional balance review, there is no policy review.” The transfer of conventional weapons would have normally taken place,” he said, adding that what is happening now is like us saying to them, “Take what you can and we will settle the matter later.”
The Israeli Ministry of Defense says it has made additional purchases worth 40 billion shekels (about 2.8 billion dollars) from the United States, according to what the Times of Israel reported.
And he said Speaker On behalf of the Pentagon, they “use foreign military financing and sales authorities to accelerate the delivery of security assistance to Israel, wherever possible,” indicating that this includes “stockpiles located in Israel.”
Brian Finucane, a former legal adviser at the State Department, said: “Israel enjoys many existing exceptions to procedural safeguards in its defense partnership with the United States.”
Finucane expressed his concern about this policy, saying: “Do these arms transfers make sense from a strategic standpoint? Does adding more gasoline to the fire make sense for American national interests or to achieve peace and stability in the region?”