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Israeli-made bullets recently purchased by the U.S. Army should be used for training only, not to fight Muslim guerrillas in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. lawmakers told Army generals.
Since the Army has other stockpiled ammunition, “by no means, under any circumstances should a round [from Israel] be utilized,” said Rep. Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Armed Services subcommittee with jurisdiction over land forces.
The Army contracted Israel Military Industries Ltd. in December for $70 million in small caliber ammunition. The Israeli firm was one of only two worldwide that could meet U.S. technical specifications and delivery needs, said Brigadier Gen. Paul Izzo, the Army’s program executive officer for ammunition. The other was East Alton, Illinois-based Winchester Ammunition, which also received a $70 million contract.
Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, who chairs the subcommittee on tactical air and land forces, concurred with Abercrombie, explaining that although the Army should not have to worry about “political correctness,” there are still “propaganda pitfalls” of using Israeli rounds in the U.S.-declared war on terror.
“There’s a sensitivity that I think all of us recognize,” Weldon told the Army witnesses, including Maj. Gen. Buford Blount, who led the U.S. Third Infantry Division that captured Baghdad in April 2003.
Blount, now the Army’s assistant deputy chief of staff, said the Army had sufficient small caliber ammunition – 5.56mm, 7.62mm and .50 caliber – to conduct current operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere without using the Israeli bullets.
But some Israeli military generals were upset. IDF Col. Moshe Lesheme told WND, “Israel has been at the forefront of the war on terror since it founding 50 years ago. We pioneered many of the anti-terror and urban-warfare techniques that the U.S. military has no problem using in Iraq and Afghanistan. Israeli firms have created an enormous amount of military technology that enhanced the American military. And now suddenly our bullets are illegitimate?”
“It is decisions like these that feed the Palestinian propaganda machine and demean Israel,” said Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America. “It makes it seem like there’s a difference between terrorism against Israelis and terrorism against anyone else. And that is simply unacceptable.”
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