Florida Governor Ron DeSantis arranged to send weapons, protective equipment and drones to Israel to support its imminent ground incursion into Gaza, a spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Florida has loaded up cargo planes with healthcare supplies, drones, body armor and helmets for Israeli first responders at DeSantis‘ direction and at the request of the Israeli consul general in Miami, Jeremy Redfern, a spokesperson for the governor’s office, told the DCNF, in the governor’s latest move to support Israel. Since war flared between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization that controls the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7, the Florida governor and GOP presidential hopeful has airlifted over 700 Americans from Israel back to the U.S.
Florida is also working with private companies and the consul general to facilitate the transfer of weapons and ammunition to Israel, Redfern said. He added that the State of Florida did not put any funds directly toward the body armor and helmets, nor did it purchase lethal aid.
“The Consul General of Israel contacted the governor’s office for assistance in transporting body armor and helmets. Since we were already sending supplies to Israel, Florida was able to include the body armor and helmets on our cargo flights. The state did not purchase these items,” Redfern told the DCNF.
It’s illegal in the U.S. for states and non-government entities to send military-use items abroad without approval from the State Department, according to federal regulations.
“The weapons and ammunition, which were not purchased by the state, were transported separately,” Redfern said. “Again, the governor’s office was contacted by the Consul General’s office for assistance to clear federal bureaucratic hurdles associated with getting those items to Israel.”
“Two cargo planes with 85 pallets of donated supplies have also arrived in Israel. Thanks to all who helped make this happen,” DeSantis said in a statement on social media Wednesday.
DeSantis, along with other Republican presidential candidates, have accused the Biden administration of failing to do enough to ensure Americans are evacuated safely from Israel.
Ron DeSantis: “We’re going to stand with Israel. We’re not going to have troops involved… The best thing we can do is just be very clear in public and in private, you have a right to defend yourself. You have a right to eliminate this threat from your population.” pic.twitter.com/f3cgxbcz8u
— Never Back Down (@NvrBackDown24) October 25, 2023
The Arms Exports and Control Act (AECA) mandates that the administration issue approval for exports of defense articles to other countries, with limited exceptions, according to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). In addition, the U.S. Munitions List specifies that ammunition and small arms that have military purpose are included in the ITAR.
ITAR requires that “any person who intends to export or to import temporarily a defense article must obtain the approval of the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls prior to the export or temporary import,” the rule states.
The State Department, White House and Israel’s consul general in Miami did not respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.
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