US greenlights potential weapons sale to Israel

The Biden administration has informally told top lawmakers it has greenlit the potential sale of more than $1 billion in arms and ammunition to Israel, two congressional aides said Tuesday.

Context: It’s the first arms sale proposal for Israel to reach lawmakers since the administration placed a hold on an arms package to pressure Israel not to invade the city of Rafah in southern Gaza.

The congressional aides were granted anonymity to discuss a politically sensitive arms transfer that has not yet been made public.

The Wall Street Journal was first to report on the plans, which still need to be finalized by the two sides and are not expected to yield any deliveries for several years.

What’s on the table: The package being considered includes about $700 million for tank ammunition, $500 million in tactical vehicles and $60 million in mortar rounds, the aides confirmed.

Not so fast: It’s common practice for the State Department to share preliminary details of potential sales with Congress before they are finalized, and the top leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee have the ability to block a deal.

Paul McLeary contributed to this report.