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Blinken defends rare move of bypassing Congress to send ammunition to Israel  

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday defended the Biden administration's decision to bypass Congress and send ammunition to Israel, saying the unusual action was justified because Israel needs to protect itself from the militant Hamas group. he claimed.

Asked on ABC News' “This Week” why the Biden administration decided to push ahead with the sale of tank ammunition to Israel without going through Congressional review, Blinken said, “When it comes to the weapons we transfer, There are accompanying rules. These rules apply to Israel as well as to other countries, including how they are used and the need to respect international humanitarian law.”

“In the case of these specific weapons you mentioned, Israel is currently at war with Hamas. Hamas attacked Israel heavily on October 7th and has stated that they would repeat what they did on October 7th if given the opportunity. “Over and over again,” Blinken continued. “…And we want to make sure that Israel has what it needs to protect itself from Hamas. A small portion of what has been requested is being implemented with urgency.”

Beyond this small portion, Blinken said, “virtually everything else is going through regular orders through Congress. It's very important that we hear Congress' voice on this.”

Hamas' surprise attack on Israel on October 7 left an estimated 1,200 people dead, including hundreds of civilians.

The Biden administration on Saturday approved the sale of 13,981 tank shells to Israel in defiance of Congressional rules. To that end, the Pentagon used an emergency declaration under the Arms Export Control Act to sell about 14,000 tank cartridges to Israel in the fight against Hamas. The cartridge is worth an estimated $106.5 million.

Blinken stressed that the administration is committed to ensuring that civilian lives in the Gaza Strip are protected.

“We are deeply and profoundly aware of the terrible human cost of this conflict to innocent men, women and children, and we are working to minimize it to the extent possible. ” he said.

Since the start of the campaign to eliminate Hamas and its military forces in the Gaza Strip, more than 17,900 people have been killed in the area. according to Ministry of Health in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The rising death toll has prompted calls from some U.S. lawmakers and world leaders for a continued ceasefire to allow civilians to leave the territory and for more aid to be provided. .

“This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz further pressed Blinken, saying, “What do you think should be investigated or has been investigated in the Israeli operation in which thousands of civilians, many of them children, were killed?” “Have you seen anything that makes you think?” he asked. Was it investigated? ”

“We're in almost constant dialogue with the Israelis, making sure they understand what their obligations are, how they're using the weapons that we're providing them,” he said. And making sure we understand that we're using it more broadly,” Blinken said. He added: “We are unable to assess specific cases at this time.”

Raddatz then asked Blinken what leverage the United States would have to pay more attention to its own campaigns if it continues to send weapons without evaluating how they might be used. Ta.

“We need to understand what their intentions are and what measures they are taking, and to take the necessary steps to ensure that they are acting in compliance with international humanitarian law and international law. Blinken responded, and Raddatz said, “We are focusing on what steps we are taking and what the results will be. And, as I said before, there is a gap between the two.'' I saw the results.”

“…Well, there's a gap between intentions and results. And that's the gap that we're definitely trying to close,” Blinken continued.

“It could end tomorrow. If Hamas didn't hide behind civilians, if they stayed out of the way of civilians, if they laid down their weapons, if they surrendered. And what they should do as well is , is, in part, a call on behalf of the whole world for Hamas to do just that…but in the absence of that, Israel must not only protect itself from continued attacks from Hamas, but also take measures. “However, this is contrary to Hamas's stated intention to repeat October 7 again and again if given the opportunity,” he continued.

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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