‘Complicity’: Leaders, activists slam US for sending more arms to Israel

Media reports say the US has agreed to transfer a new weapons package worth $2.5bn to Israel amid its ongoing Gaza war.

Kites fly in Rafah as a smoke plume erupts during Israeli bombardment on Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on March 29
Kites fly in Rafah as a smoke plume erupts during Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip [File: Said Khatib/AFP]

The United States has greenlighted the transfer of a new $2.5bn weapons package, comprising bombs and fighter jets, to Israel, according to US media reports.

Despite expressing concern about civilian casualties in Gaza, the White House arms package includes more than 1,800 MK84 2,000-pound  (900kg) bombs and 500 MK82 500-pound (225kg) bombs, according to Pentagon and Department of State officials, the Washington Post reported.

The 2,000-pound bombs, which can inflict damage to people up to 1,000 feet (300 metres) away, have been “linked to previous mass-casualty events throughout Israel’s military campaign in Gaza”, the US publication said.

Many leaders and human rights activists around the world have criticised the US for sending more arms to Israel, especially as the Benjamin Netanyahu government promises to launch an offensive in Rafah, the last refuge of more than a million displaced Palestinians in Gaza.

Here are some key reactions:

Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

In a statement posted on X, the ministry condemned Washington’s actions and said that “demanding Netanyahu to stop killing civilians and supplying him with weapons is an unprecedented principled and moral contradiction”.

The ministry also expressed regret at the “ongoing failure” on the part of the UN Security Council and of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to ensure Israel respects their decisions.

Former Palestinian politicians

Hanan Daoud Ashrawi, a Palestinian politician who also served as the official spokesperson of the Palestinian delegation to the Middle East peace process, said US President Joe Biden’s actions were astounding.

“The hypocrisy of Biden’s hollow words & crocodile tears on the ‘humanitarian disaster’ in Gaza while showering Israel with the most lethal & destructive military supplies capable of pulverising buildings & human beings instantly is astounding!” she said in a post on X.


The Palestinian group “strongly” condemned Washington’s latest weapons transfer to Israel, saying in a statement that the arms package only “confirms the full partnership of this administration in the brutal war of extermination” against Palestinians in Gaza.

Hamas said the move shows the US is only insisting on increasing humanitarian aid to Gaza and protecting civilians to “cover up the ongoing crimes” of its ally Israel.

“We call on the international community and the United Nations to impose a complete ban on the supply of weapons to the criminal Zionist entity, and to take steps to stop the aggression, leading to holding the occupation and its leaders accountable for the violations and crimes against humanity they have committed,” the statement added.

Jordan’s Foreign Minister

Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi called on the international community to stop supplying Israel with weapons.

“UN agencies are telling horror stories of suffering in Gaza. Over 30,000 killed. Over two million people starved. These facts shame the world,” he posted on X.

“Weapons must stop flowing to Israel. Israel must be forced to end this catastrophe. This is what international law, what human values, demand,” he added.

Greece’s former finance minister

Yanis Varoufakis, the former finance minister of Greece and founder of the Greek political party MeRA25, called Biden a war criminal.

“In 2001, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin earned the war criminal label over Chechnya. In 2003, Bush-Blair were the war criminals viz Iraq. Over the past six months, Biden became complicit in Israel’s war crimes. Today, with this latest release of weapons, Biden has become a fully fledged war criminal too,” he said in a post on X.

US Senator Bernie Sanders

Sanders slammed the move as “obscene”.

“The US cannot beg Netanyahu to stop bombing civilians one day and the next send him thousands more 2,000-pound bombs that can level entire city blocks,” he said in a post on X.

“We must end our complicity: No more bombs to Israel,” he added.

Pro-Palestine protesters

At pro-Palestine demonstrations in San Francisco in the US, protesters denounced the US government’s actions of arming Israel as “outrageous and unacceptable”.

Demonstrators blocked roads on Friday after a US warship in the port was suspected of being used to carry weapons to Israel. They also said they are concerned the vessel, USNS Harvey Milk, may deliver supplies to Israel’s military as it continues its deadly attack on Gaza.

“It is outrageous and unacceptable that our government continues to fund and supply the Israeli military as it carries out genocide against the people of Gaza,” said Lara Kiswani of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center.

Jewish Voice for Peace Action

The global movement of Jewish people and allies working towards justice and equality for all Palestinians and Israelis expressed on X that “cruelty knows no bounds”.

“Over 32,000 Palestinians brutally massacred by Israel, children being starved to death under siege, the World Court investigating plausible genocide, hundreds of thousands of voters protesting at the ballot box.

“And Biden keeps sending Israel weapons,” the group said.


In a post on X, Kenneth Roth, the former executive director of Human Rights Watch, slammed the US for arming Israel.

“Biden is sending Israel 1,800 MK84 2,000-pound bombs. These are the huge bombs that Israel has repeatedly used even though they are utterly inappropriate for a populated place like Gaza because they predictably kill, main, and destroy over very wide areas,” he said.

Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Middle East-focused rights organisation DAWN, called President Biden “two-faced”.

She added that while Biden has criticised Israel for their atrocities in Gaza, “he’s actually rewarding them for their filthy fight with billions more in the most lethal weapons – including 2,000 pound bombs that even the US & other countries no longer use in battle because of their catastrophic impacts”.


Marc Owen Jones, associate professor of Middle East studies at Hamad bin Khalifa University in Qatar, told Al Jazeera that while Washington is publicly pressuring Israel to “dial back” its war in Gaza, its policy moves are sending an entirely different signal.

The unfettered assistance to Israel is undermining Biden’s efforts to reposition the US as a “moral authority in the world,” he noted.

“Biden is breaking, or at least not enforcing, the Leahy laws,” he said, referring to US human rights laws that bar the US from supplying weapons to countries plausibly engaged in rights abuses.

“How is Biden going to position himself as any kind of moral authority when he is contravening laws that are meant to defend the human rights of people like those in Palestine? The US’s policy is actually just business as usual.”

Laura Blumenfeld, a Middle East analyst at the Johns Hopkins University, told Al Jazeera the arms shipment to Israel “puts Biden on a tightrope”.

“It’s all about balance … Despite the fog of war, the administration has been clear about its red lines legally, morally and diplomatically,” the analyst said, adding that the decision to ship more weapons suggested Israel had not yet crossed that line in the eyes of Biden.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies