The Biden administration is seeking to ease restrictions on Israel’s access to a key U.S. weapons stockpile, a move that would streamline the weapons supply to Israel and reduce congressional oversight.
The White House has requested the Senate to remove these restrictions in a recent supplementary budget request. If approved, Israel would be able to procure more advanced U.S. weapons at a lower cost.
The proposed changes concern the War Reserve Stockpile Allies-Israel (WRSA-I), a U.S. weapons cache based in Israel that includes smart bombs, missiles, military vehicles, and other ammunition. Established in the 1980s, the stockpile serves as a significant resource for the Pentagon during regional conflicts.
Israel, a major U.S. ally in the Middle East, has been allowed to draw from the stockpile in emergencies and purchase weapons at a discounted rate. However, access has been limited to certain categories of weapons considered “obsolete or surplus.”
The new proposal would remove these limitations, allowing the U.S. to transfer all “defense articles” from its stockpile to Israel. It would also waive an annual cap on the amount the U.S. spends to replenish the stockpile and limit congressional oversight of the transfers.
America provides more military aid to Israel than any other country, at $3.8 billion annually. But public support for such aid appears to be dwindling.
A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found that only 33% of respondents believe the U.S. should support Israel in the war, while 31% support sending weapons to Israel.
Read more at Al Jazeera.