U.S. arms transfers to Israel: over 70,000 weapons since 1950

A detailed report unveils the extent of U.S. military aid to Israel, spotlighting the profound implications of this support on the longstanding conflict in Gaza.


Your support fuels our mission. NationofChange, an ad-free and transparent resource for progressive news, thrives on contributions from readers like you. Donate today and keep the voice of activism strong.

The United States has been a cornerstone ally to Israel, a relationship underscored by the transfer of over 70,000 weapons since 1950, as revealed in a recent analysis of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Arms Transfers Database by Axios. This period notably follows the Nakba or “catastrophe,” a pivotal moment in Middle Eastern history marked by the mass displacement of Palestinians and the formation of the state of Israel.

The majority of these arms, predominantly missiles and munitions, have played significant roles in ongoing regional conflicts, including the recent tensions in Gaza. Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) have been the most prevalent in the last three decades, enhancing Israel’s military operations. Additionally, the U.S. has supplied aircraft and ground vehicles like tanks, substantially augmenting Israel’s combat capabilities.

Israel’s status as the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid post-World War II emphasizes the depth of their alliance. Since the Nakba, Israel has received an estimated $260 billion in U.S. economic and military assistance. The year 2022 alone saw Israel receive $3.2 billion in aid, with further commitments extending into 2023.

This year has continued the trend of robust U.S. military support, with at least 16 different types of weapons supplied. Experts, including former State Department officials, have expressed concern that these American weapons are being extensively used against Palestinians, especially in Gaza. This situation raises significant ethical questions about the U.S.’s role in the conflict, as these arms have potentially been instrumental in operations resulting in civilian casualties.

Details about recent arms transfers to Israel have been shrouded in secrecy, with leaked reports suggesting a range of advanced munitions and military vehicles. This lack of transparency, coupled with the Biden administration’s removal of safeguards on weapons supplies to Israel, has intensified scrutiny over U.S. military aid’s transparency and ethical implications.

Israel’s military strength, heavily bolstered by U.S. support, has been central to its operations in Gaza, where over 15,000 Palestinians have been killed. Critics argue that the U.S., through its substantial role in enhancing Israel’s military capabilities, bears direct responsibility for the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Human rights groups and advocates for Palestinian liberation have urged the U.S. to leverage its influence to demand an end to the violence. Suggestions for U.S. intervention include imposing conditions on military aid to prevent human rights abuses and endorsing ceasefire initiatives.

The Axios analysis underscores that a significant portion of Israel’s annual defense budget is funded by U.S. military aid. This support has not only facilitated Israel’s access to advanced military technology but has also shaped its strategic military decisions, influencing the geopolitical dynamics of the Middle East.

In light of these findings, progressive voices in U.S. politics, including Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo), have called for greater transparency in arms transfers to Israel, akin to the approach for Ukraine and other nations. Despite these calls, the Pentagon has indicated no plans to limit the Israel Defense Forces’ use of U.S.-provided weaponry.

In conclusion, the extensive military support provided by the U.S. to Israel, particularly in the form of arms transfers, highlights the complexities of geopolitical interests and strategic alliances. As the situation in Gaza continues to develop, the role of U.S. military aid remains a contentious issue, balancing national interests against the imperative for humanitarian responsibility and peace in the region.


If you liked this article, please donate $5 to keep NationofChange online through November.