While negotiating a truce between Israelis and Palestinian militants, the US continues to stoke the conflict by selling deadly weapons to Israel, a Middle East expert told RIA Novosti Monday.

“Even as the US government claims to be brokering a ceasefire, it continues selling weapons to Israel,” said Ken Klippenstein, a journalist who regularly covers the conflict.

On July 14, as violence flared between Israelis and Palestinians, the US State Department approved a $544 million sale of AIM-9x sidewinder missiles – which can be used on ground targets by F-16s – together with support services to Israel, the expert noted.

“Official US military aid to Israel is about $3 billion per year, which is part of a decade-long $30 billion military aid package. But this figure doesn’t include the $504 million the US provides to Israel for missile defense,” Klippenstein said.

Gaza and southern Israel saw an upsurge in violence on Monday despite diplomatic efforts for a truce. Israel launched an offensive against Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls Gaza, three weeks ago after a surge in rocket fire. More than 1,000 Palestinians have died in the military operation. According to recent estimates, the Israeli side has lost more than 40 soldiers and three civilians.

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