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After Deadly Siege in Gaza, US to Restock Israeli Munitions
Israel continues its retaliation over Palestinian observer status
The U.S. Department of Defense stated this week that it will now replenish all of the munitions used by Israel in its recent eight day siege on Gaza, which lead to the deaths of over 180 Palestinians and hundreds of injuries—a large portion being children.
The DoD notified Congress on Monday of the $647 million deal with Israel to restock the Israel Air Force (IAF) with munitions used in the over one thousand bombings conducted during the "Operation Pillar of Defense" on Gaza last month. Congress is expected to approve the deal this week.
The DoD said the deal includes roughly 7,000 Joint Attack Munitions kits, and 10,000 bombs of various kinds, mostly bunker-buster bombs, including 1,725 BLU-109 bunker-buster bombs, and 3,450 GBU-39 bunker-buster bombs.
In addition to the large amount of civilian casualties, the assault on Gaza also destroyed roughly 8,000 buildings and roughly $1.2 billion in infrastructural damage, according to Palestinian officials.
“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,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Israeli officials announced Wednesday that it will now withhold needed tax revenues from the Palestinian administration in the West Bank for at least four months in retaliation for the Palestinians' bid for observer status at the UN this month. The December funds transfer was already withheld.
Palestine won the status of observer state at the United Nations in a landslide vote. Both the U.S. and Israel were among the small minority of countries to vote no.
"The Palestinians can forget about getting even one cent in the coming four months, and in four months' time we will decide how to proceed," Avigdor Lieberman, the Israel foreign minister, said in a speech on Tuesday night.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior Palestinian official, said earlier this month that Israel was guilty of "piracy and theft" by refusing to hand over the funds.
"Contractual obligations ... regarding full, timely, predictable and transparent transfer of tax and custom revenues have to be respected," European Union officials stated.