May 20, 2021

Risch, McCaul to Biden: The U.S. Must Stand With Israel, Not Delay Arms Sales

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and U.S. Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas), lead Republican of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today sent a letter to President Biden encouraging the administration to stand by Israel, resist calls to delay the sale of important munitions, and expedite the processing and delivery of those munitions as much as possible.

“We are especially concerned by calls to delay the pending sale of precision munitions to Israel. Israel requested these munitions in a standard, routine process to ensure its inventory remains sufficient,” said the members. “The committees provided clearance on them weeks before Hamas and other actors began their terrorist activities. The chairs and ranking members of the committees did not raise any issues during the review process. Only now, as Israel strikes back against Iranian-backed Hamas terrorism, have voices called to halt the sale.”

“Israel has a right to defend itself, and the United States has pledged to help maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge. This includes the sort of precision-guided munitions provided through this sale, which are critical to effectively destroy terrorist targets, to do so with discrimination, and to minimize the loss of life as much as possible,” the members continued. “To withhold this sale now would call into question our commitment to Israel’s qualitative military edge, and the basic reliability and trustworthiness of the United States as an ally and a defender of democratic values. We have heard voices in Congress that are increasingly willing to forfeit the United States’ reputation for standing by its friends and partners. This is not right. We must draw a firm line that the United States will stand with Israel and other allies in their hour of need.”

Full text of the letter can be found here and below:

Dear Mr. President:

We write to urge you to stand by Israel, resist calls to delay the sale of important munitions, and expedite the processing and delivery of those munitions as much as possible.

As you know, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee have important formal and informal oversight roles in reviewing foreign military sales and direct commercial sales to foreign partners. We take this role very seriously and appreciate that your administration has placed a priority on ensuring robust consultation with Congress on these sales.

We are especially concerned by calls to delay the pending sale of precision munitions to Israel. Israel requested these munitions in a standard, routine process to ensure its inventory remains sufficient. Your administration began consultations with the relevant committees months ago. The committees provided clearance on them weeks before Hamas and other actors began their terrorist activities. The Chairs and Ranking Members of the Committees did not raise any issues during the review process. Only now, as Israel strikes back against Iranian-backed Hamas terrorism, have voices called to halt the sale. Some appear to be mischaracterizing your consultations, as well as the legitimacy of this sale.

Israel has a right to defend itself, and the United States has pledged to help maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge. This includes the sort of precision-guided munitions provided through this sale, which are critical to effectively destroy terrorist targets, to do so with discrimination, and to minimize the loss of life as much as possible. To withhold this sale now would call into question our commitment to Israel’s qualitative military edge, and the basic reliability and trustworthiness of the United States as an ally and a defender of democratic values. We have heard voices in Congress that are increasingly willing to forfeit the United States’ reputation for standing by its friends and partners. This is not right. We must draw a firm line that the United States will stand with Israel and other allies in their hour of need.

Sincerely,

###