House Dem Puts F-15 Deal With Israel on Ice Despite Assurances From Jewish State

Rep. Gregory Meeks (Getty Images)
April 12, 2024

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D., N.Y.), ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, this week withheld approval of Israel’s purchase of F-15 fighter jets from the United States, despite receiving Israel’s assurances that it will adhere to international law in Gaza.

Meeks reviewed a letter of assurances from Israeli minister of defense Yoav Gallant on Tuesday but has not yet said whether he would sign off on the F-15 deal, according to Axios. The Democratic ranking member said he is looking for "assurances" from the Jewish state that it will obey international law in using American weapons and allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza.

"At least a dozen" Democrats on the committee put pressure on Meeks to block the F-15 jet sales, a lawmaker familiar with the matter told Axios. House Democrats have recently become more critical of Israel’s fight against Hamas terrorists after an Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed seven aid workers from the humanitarian group World Central Kitchen.

The New York Democrat on Thursday declined to elaborate on the Israeli letter of assurances or whether he would move forward with the sale any time soon. 

"I can't talk about none of those things because it’s in a [sensitive compartmented information facility], it's a secret. So, I really can't talk about [the letter]," Meeks told Axios.

"There are a lot of things that have to be considered," Meeks added. "The F-15s are not going to be delivered, if in fact [they are], until five years from now. I’ve got a lot of things that I’m looking at, doing my homework, on the ground, etc."

Rep. Brad Sherman (D., Calif.), the second-ranked Democrat on the committee after Meeks, urged the ranking member to approve the sale. "Israel faces more security threats than just Hamas," Sherman said. "Hamas doesn't have an air force, but Iran sure does, and Iran is making noises today as if they'd like to send their air force against Israel."