WASHINGTON (AP) — For the second time this month the Biden administration is bypassing Congress to approve an emergency weapons sale to Israel as Israel continues to prosecute its war against Hamas in Gaza beneath growing worldwide criticism.

The State Division mentioned Friday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken had informed Congress that he had made a second emergency willpower protecting a $147.5 million sale for tools, together with fuses, prices and primers, that’s wanted to make the 155 mm shells that Israel has already bought perform.

“Given the urgency of Israel’s defensive needs, the secretary notified Congress that he had exercised his delegated authority to determine an emergency existed necessitating the immediate approval of the transfer,” the division mentioned.

“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to U.S. national interests to ensure Israel is able to defend itself against the threats it faces,” it mentioned.

The emergency willpower means the acquisition will bypass the congressional assessment requirement for overseas army gross sales. Such determinations are uncommon, however not unprecedented, when administrations see an pressing want for weapons to be delivered with out ready for lawmakers’ approval.

Blinken made an analogous resolution on Dec. 9, to approve the sale to Israel of almost 14,000 rounds of tank ammunition value greater than $106 million.

Each strikes have come as President Joe Biden’s request for an almost $106 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and different nationwide safety wants stays stalled in Congress, caught up in a debate over U.S. immigration coverage and border safety. Some Democratic lawmakers have spoken of creating the proposed $14.3 billion in American help to its Mideast ally contingent on concrete steps by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s authorities to cut back civilian casualties in Gaza through the warfare with Hamas.

The State Division sought to counter potential criticism of the sale on human rights grounds by saying it was in fixed contact with Israel to emphasise the significance of minimizing civilian casualties, which have soared since Israel started its response to the Hamas assaults in Israel on Oct. 7.

“We continue to strongly emphasize to the government of Israel that they must not only comply with international humanitarian law, but also take every feasible step to prevent harm to civilians,” it mentioned.

“Hamas hides behind civilians and has embedded itself among the civilian population, but that does not lessen Israel’s responsibility and strategic imperative to distinguish between civilians and Hamas terrorists as it conducts its military operations,” the division mentioned. “This type of campaign can only be won by protecting civilians.”

Bypassing Congress with emergency determinations for arms gross sales is an uncommon step that has previously met resistance from lawmakers, who usually have a time period to weigh in on proposed weapons transfers and, in some instances, block them.

In Could 2019, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an emergency willpower for an $8.1 billion sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan after it grew to become clear that the Trump administration would have bother overcoming lawmakers’ considerations in regards to the Saudi and UAE-led warfare in Yemen.

Pompeo got here beneath heavy criticism for the transfer, which some believed might have violated the legislation as a result of lots of the weapons concerned had but to be constructed and couldn’t be delivered urgently. However he was cleared of any wrongdoing after an inside investigation.

No less than 4 administrations have used the authority since 1979. President George H.W. Bush’s administration used it through the Gulf Warfare to get arms rapidly to Saudi Arabia.