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As the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) continue to confront Hamas militants in a bitter conflict in Gaza, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to Israel of M107 155 mm projectiles and related equipment worth an estimated USD 147.5 M (EUR 135 M), the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 29 December 2023.

The proposed sale of the ammunition, which would come from US Army stocks, has been passed to the US Congress for final approval.

Israel has requested 155 mm ancillaries (fuzes, primers and charges) that will be added to previously implemented cases. This amendment will increase the total case value above notification thresholds and thus requires notification of the entire case. The original FMS cases, valued at USD 96.51 M, included 4,792 rounds of M107 155 mm artillery ammunition; 52,229 rounds of M795 155 mm artillery ammunition; and 30,000 M4 propelling charges, along with publications; associated technical documentation; and logistics support services, which have subsequently been delivered. The new estimated total cost is USD 147.5 M.

“The Secretary of State has determined and provided detailed justification to Congress that an emergency exists that requires the immediate sale to the Government of Israel of the above defense articles and services in the national security interests of the United States, thereby waiving the Congressional review requirements under Section 36(b) of the Arms Export Control Act, as amended,” the DSCA stated in its notification. “The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to US national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self defense capability. This proposed sale is consistent with those objectives.”

The DSCA added that it “is incumbent on all countries to employ munitions consistent with international humanitarian law”, although whether that requirement is being fully observed by the IDF in Gaza is debatable, given the extent to which Hamas militants are fighting from within areas populated by civilians.

US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken talking at an end-of-year press conference at the Department of State on 20 December 2023. Blinken has maintained US military support for Israel amid the conflict in Gaza while urging for diplomatic solutions. (Image: US State Department)