Revealed: The Munitions U.S. Supplied Israel for Gaza War

Internal Pentagon document details munitions request made by ‘senior Israeli leader’ ? Congressional Democrats grow increasingly wary of Biden administration’s lack of transparency

By Oded Yaron, Ben Samuels, HAARETZ  Nov 16, 2023 12:05 am IST

Tens of thousands of 155mm artillery shells, thousands of bunker-buster munitions and 200 kamikaze drones – these are just some weapons and ammunition Israel has asked the U.S. for since the beginning of the war in Gaza.

An internal Pentagon document revealed by Bloomberg on Wednesday details the requests made by “a senior Israeli leader” in late October. The list also includes 2,000 Hellfire laser-guided missiles for Apache gunships and 36,000 rounds of 30mm ammunition for its cannon.

Israel’s Apache helicopters have been operating constantly since the early hours of October 7, closely assisting ground forces in the Gaza Strip and on the Lebanon border.

According to the document, the missiles, and ammunition have already been provided to the Israeli army.

Israel also asked for 3,000 M141 bunker-buster shoulder fired rockets, made by Nammo Talley Defense and capable of penetrating up to 20 cm of concrete. 1,800 of these have already been shipped, as of late October. Israel has also asked for 400 120mm mortar rounds.

According to Breaking Defense, the U.S. Army has ordered more than 100 such drones for its own use in October, leading to the assumption that there are no drones currently available in warehouses.
The document confirms that Israel will be given back the two Iron Dome batteries it had sold to the U.S. Army – which eventually chose a different system – as well as 312 Tamir interceptors. The batteries were shipped to Israel by sea.

The most controversial munitions are the 57,000 155mm shells, at least a portion of which were sent from the U.S. Army’s stockpiles in Israel to Europe, for the Ukrainian war effort. Human rights groups as well as Palestinian officials have criticized the use of cannons in the densely-populated Gaza Strip.

The shortage in shells is a problem that has repeated itself in various conflicts in Israel and around the world. Last July, however, Israel’s Defense Ministry and Elbit signed a contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars to supply tens of thousands of shells.

The Israeli list of requests also includes 75 armored Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, some of which have already been supplied. Israel also asked for 5,000 PVS-14 night vision devices, manufactured by Elbit America, and L3Harris. 3,500 of these have been provided. At least one item on the list – 20,000 M4A1 rifles (a variant of the AR-15) – has already caused a stir. The U.S. has even threatened to halt the supply when it learned that National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir distributed the weapons to security squads during events that could be construed as political.

Democrats grow wary

Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats are increasingly wary of the Biden administration’s lack of transparency regarding the public disclosure on arms sales to Israel – which is in contrast to its self-reported information about similar sales to Ukraine.

The administration is also pushing for the authority to bypass notification requirements to Congress that apply to every other country receiving foreign military financing.

“What I can tell you is we are providing assistance to Israel through very different mechanisms than how we provide assistance to Ukraine,” said Pentagon deputy spokesperson Sabrina Singh.

While Ukraine aid is primarily provided via drawdown authorities, which permits the “speedy delivery of defense articles and services from Department of Defense stocks to foreign countries and international organizations to respond to unforeseen emergencies.”

Israel is mainly through official foreign military sales, foreign military financing, and then direct contracting that Israel does with private commercial companies.

Efforts to provide Israel with $14 billion in emergency assistance have hit a standstill due to political gridlock in Washington.

The House passed a stopgap funding measure on Tuesday to keep the government open, which will now go to the Senate. The effort, however, does not include supplemental assistance to Israel.

Negotiations to link Israel and Ukraine funding, meanwhile, have hit a brick wall over border security.

November 16, 2023 | 3 Comments »

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  1. What is the purpose of this article? It’s not a rhetorical question. I am honestly unclear.

    “Congressional Democrats are increasingly wary of the Biden administration’s lack of transparency regarding the public disclosure on arms sales to Israel.”

    Is that all democrats?, 28 democrats? 2 democrats?

    The vast majority of Americans are pro-Israel. The real issue is Congress is dysfunctional. They cannot achieve anything. They have not passed a budget since 2007. I believe that it will be possible to arrange funding for Israel eventually.

    One cause of the difficulty passing an aid package is this: Congress has funded the government since 2007 with continuing resolutions. Conservatives who are worried that Biden keeps sending trillions of dollars to places like Iran and Ukraine that the American people don’t want spent, are trying to pass stand-alone funding bills. That requires each representative to go on the record and take responsibility for either funding the project or not. Finally someone wants to take responsibility! But that is why they could not pass the aid for Israel. Biden said he would veto a stand-alone bill for aid for Israel unless it included aid for Ukraine and the war in Ukraine is over, and Americans don’t want to pay for it.

    Biden keeps wanting to fund Islamic terrorism throughout the middle east, fund Iran, fund the Free Lebanese Army (in other words fund Hezbollah), fund the PA and fund UNWRA.

    Perhaps a more honest statement in the article would be “some democrats want to keep funding Islamic terrorism along with Biden so they are not happy if he sells or gives arms to Israel.”

    By the way, there were 28 democrats who wrote to Biden calling for a cease fire. That translates to 28 democrats who are against Israel’s survival. That is hardly a huge constituency. Jewish organizations are already arranging funding for challengers to these democrats’ seats in the next election.

  2. Well… Spain was the “Aldershot of Europe” in the 30’s; and Viet Nam of the World since – besides Arab head banging on Israel, Syria, Yemen…. Armies have to train somewhere and keep their supply chains supple.

    Somebody in DC has twigged that if Hamas can claim a victory after this – just by surviving as the power in Gaza – then the Russians and Iranian Ayatollahs (medieval sectarian bigots) will claim a proxy victory in the same way that in 1967 – 73 the USA was accorded a proxy victory over the USSR.

    Incidentally the guerilla maxim that to survive is to win cuts both ways. As long as Israel survives then the Arabs – and Iranian “clerical fascists” – have lost.