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Key Democrats approve major arms sale to Israel, including F-15s

Two key Democratic holdouts in the House and Senate signed off on a major arms sale to Israel, including 50 F-15 fighter jets worth more than $18 billion, after facing intense pressure from the Biden administration and pro-Israel advocates to allow the transaction to move forward, said three U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

The decision, which has not been previously reported, underscores the substantial appetite in Washington to continue the flow of arms to Israel despite concerns from younger members of Congress that the United States should use its leverage to pressure Israel to reduce the intensity of the war and allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza.

This spring, Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, publicly vowed to hold up the arms package unless he received assurances from the administration about how the warplanes and munitions would be used in Gaza, where more than 37,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to local health authorities. Besides the F-15s, which are not scheduled to arrive in Israel for years, the administration sought sign-off on air-to-air missiles and Joint Direct Attack Munition kits, which retrofit unguided bombs with precision guidance.


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