The United States has greenlit the transfer of $320 million worth of precision-guided bomb equipment to Israel.
This decision comes amid Israel’s ongoing aerial bombardment of Gaza as part of its conflict with Hamas. The sale includes the “Spice Family Gliding Bomb Assemblies,” a type of precision bomb kit capable of converting unguided bombs into GPS-guided munitions.
US Transfers Precision-Guided Bombs to Israel
The sale was initially approved by relevant US congressional committees several months ago, predating the recent conflict triggered by Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7. However, it was only formally communicated to congressional leaders by the State Department on October 31.
The formal notification addressed to the speaker of the House, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee stated that defense contractor Rafael USA would facilitate the transfer of these assemblies for use by the Israeli Ministry of Defense.
These Spice Family Gliding Bomb Assemblies abbreviated as SPICE, which stands for Smart, Precise Impact, and Cost Effective, are produced by Rafael USA, the American branch of a leading Israeli arms manufacturer. They are similar in function to JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munitions) produced by the United States, which are fin and steering kits converting unguided bombs into precision-guided munitions.
US Stance on Explicit Ceasefire Call
The US had expedited the delivery of JDAMs to Israel shortly after the conflict began, addressing one of Israel’s pressing defense needs, alongside interceptor missiles for its aerial defense systems.
While the transfer takes place, calls for a ceasefire in Gaza have grown louder as the civilian casualties from Israeli airstrikes continue to rise.
White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby expressed concern about the significant number of civilian casualties in Gaza and the need for humanitarian aid access.
US officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, have urged Israel to agree to humanitarian pauses for aid delivery and civilian evacuation.
However, the US has not explicitly called for a ceasefire, asserting that such a move might benefit Hamas. Blinken emphasized the importance of progress on the release of hostages in discussions about humanitarian pauses.