Rep. Ilhan Omar
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) speaks during a news conference calling for a ceasefire in Gaza outside the U.S. Capitol building on November 13, 2023 in Washington, D.C.
(Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Omar Plans Bill to Prevent Biden From Selling $320 Million of Bomb Kits to Israel

"It is an important statement that there are those in the U.S. who care about this issue and are not willing to simply stand by," said a former State Department official who resigned over continued arms transfers to Israel.

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar is reportedly planning to introduce legislation this week to block the Biden administration's proposed $320 million sale of bomb guidance kits to the Israeli government, which has dropped tens of thousands of tons of explosives on the besieged Gaza Strip in just over a month—obliterating the enclave's civilian infrastructure and killing more than 11,000 people.

HuffPostreported Monday that Omar is expected to file a measure known as a "resolution of disapproval," which if passed would prevent the administration from transferring the military equipment to Israel, barring a veto from U.S. President Joe Biden.

Late last month, the Biden administration notified Congress of its intention to transfer Spice Family Gliding Bomb Assemblies, kits that transform unguided bombs into GPS-guided weapons (SPICE stands for Smart, Precise Impact, and Cost Effective). The Biden administration has also proposed a waiver that would allow it to approve future weapons sales to Israel without notifying Congress.

Israel has been using the bomb kits—which are made by Rafael USA—during its assault on Gaza. Earlier this month, the Israeli military dropped at least two 2,000-pound bombs on the Gaza city that's home to the territory's largest refugee camp, The New York Timesreported.

"The bombs are usually outfitted with guidance kits called Joint Direct Attack Munitions, turning them from so-called dumb bombs into precision, GPS-guided weapons," the Times noted.

Since the deadly Hamas-led attack of October 7, Israel has dropped more than 25,000 tons of explosives on Gaza, the equivalent of two nuclear bombs, according to the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor.

The Israeli government's indiscriminate bombing campaign and mass atrocities in Gaza have not stopped the Biden administration from backing Israel's military and pledging unconditional support, despite growing warnings that such support is rendering the U.S. complicit in genocide and other war crimes.

Human Rights Watch has demanded an arms embargo on Israel and Palestinian armed groups, accusing both sides of war crimes.

Josh Paul, a former State Department official who resigned last month over continued U.S. arms transfers to Israel, applauded Omar's impending effort to block the sale of bomb kits in an interview with HuffPost while acknowledging that it's an "uphill battle."

"It is an important statement that there are those in the U.S. who care about this issue and are not willing to simply stand by," said Paul.

Jon Rainwater, executive director of Peace Action, also welcomed Omar's planned legislation as "very good news."

Omar, the deputy chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, is one of the few members of Congress who have vocally criticized the Biden administration for continuing to provide military assistance to Israel as it relentlessly bombards Gaza, killing thousands of children and displacing 70% of the enclave's population. The bombing campaign has killed one of every 200 people in Gaza, The Washington Postreported.

Last week, Omar expressed alarm about the Biden administration's push to circumvent congressional oversight of its arms transfers to Israel, which have thus far been shrouded in secrecy.

"This is particularly concerning, given the wanton killing of civilians, and constant reports of war crimes and human rights abuses, likely using U.S. weapons," said Omar.

Late Monday, Omar joined rabbis and fellow members of Congress in demanding an immediate cease-fire in Gaza.

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