Amid Gaza war IDF buys ammunition from U.S. stock in Israel

The last time the U.S. allowed Israel to restock the IDF’s munitions from its local supply was in 2006, during the Second Lebanon War.

The U.S. approved the sale of $300 million worth of ammunition to Israel, the Pentagon confirmed Wednesday. Among the ammunition Israel bought from the U.S. was “an undisclosed amount of 120 mm mortar rounds and 40 mm ammunition for grenade launchers,” ABC news reported

The interesting fact is that the sale was made from the U.S. stockpile (WRSA-I) – an emergency storage of ammunition and other military gear (including missiles and military vehicles) that the U.S. European Command has kept in a secret location in Israel since the early 90s. The storage belongs to the U.S. military, but the president can authorize a sale to Israel under special circumstances, as it did during the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

Israel’s ability to maintain a prolonged war is a sensitive military issue, and the details of the IDF’s stockpile are kept secret. However, it is a well known fact that in some cases Israel has relied on American supplies during its wars. The most well-known example is the arial convoy sent by President Nixon in 1973.

An Israeli artillery fires a shell towards the Gaza Strip from their position near Israel’s border with the Gaza strip on July 24, 2014. (Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)
An Israeli artillery fires a shell towards the Gaza Strip from their position near Israel’s border with the Gaza strip on July 24, 2014. (Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

No details of the current sale were made public in Israel after the Pentagon announcement, so it is unclear how a refusal to transfer the ammunition to the IDF would have affected Israel’s decision to continue with its Gaza operation. Israel usually uses the $3 billion in annual aid it receives from the U.S. on the purchase of weapons, since it must spend the money on U.S. products. Occasionally, the U.S. Congress also allows special aid packages during war times.

Israel announced this morning that 16,000 more reservists will be drafted, and that the IDF will receive new offensive missions in Gaza. Over 1,400 Palestinians and 55 Israelis have been killed in the war so far.

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