The Palestinian Hamas movement slammed on Saturday the United States for agreeing to an arms deal with Israel, saying it will only stoke tensions in the region and encourage violations against the Palestinian people.
“The US’ continued armament of the occupation will only increase tensions in the region and encourage Israel’s defiance of international laws and resolutions,” said Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem in a statement.
He added that the American arms and financial support, as well as political cover to Israel’s occupation policies, makes Washington an accomplice in the aggression against the Palestinian people.
On Friday, the US State Department said it approved the sale of 18 Sikorsky CH-53K heavy-lift helicopters to Israel in a deal worth around $3.4 billion.
The State Department said in a statement that “the US 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.”
Although the State Department announced the deal, the two sides have yet to sign a contract.
In May, US media reported that the White House had approved a $735 million arms sale to Israel.
The Washington Post said President Joe Biden’s administration has approved the arms sale as Tel Aviv was carrying out its offensive on the Gaza Strip.
Also on Friday, the House of Representatives passed a bill that provides Israel with the annual $3.3 billion in US security assistance to build partnerships between Israelis and Palestinians through the Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act.