Netanyahu: Arms Shipment Dispute With US To Be Resolved Soon


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday he believes a dispute with the United States over the pace of its arms shipments to Israeli forces fighting Hamas militants in Gaza would be resolved soon. 

“About four months ago, there was a dramatic drop in the supply of armaments arriving from the U.S. to Israel. We got all sorts of explanations, but… the basic situation didn’t change,” he told a Cabinet meeting.

“In light of what I have heard in the last day, I hope and believe that this issue will be resolved in the near future,” he said.

Top U.S. officials said last week they were puzzled by Netanyahu’s claim. Israeli officials said they lobbied their U.S. counterparts at “the highest levels… at all levels” for speedier weapons deliveries, with Netanyahu saying, “After months of no change in this situation, I decided to give it a public expression,” which angered Washington. 

U.S. officials said they were not aware of what Netanyahu was referring to.

Netanyahu’s latest comments on the weapons deliveries came as Defense Minister Yoav Gallant flew to Washington for talks about the war. The U.S. is Israel’s main arms supplier in Israel’s war against Hamas, now in its ninth month with no immediate end in sight.

President Joe Biden has outlined what he said was an Israeli proposed a six-week halt in the fighting and the release of Hamas-held hostages. Hamas has said any agreement must result in an end to the war, a demand Israel has rejected.

While the U.S. has maintained its support for Israel, it has grown increasingly frustrated at Netanyahu’s conduct of the war. It was triggered by a shock Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 that killed 1,200 people in Israel and led to the capture of about 250 hostages.

Israel’s counteroffensive in Gaza has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians but also thousands of combatants, according to the territory’s health ministry.

The prime minister last week said Israel needed American ammunition to fight a “war for its existence” as it battles Hamas militants in Gaza and trades fire with Lebanese Hezbollah fighters on its northern border.

Netanyahu, in his comments Sunday to his Cabinet, did not specify which weapons he believed the U.S. had cut back on, saying only that “Certain items arrived sporadically but the munitions at large remained behind.” 

U.S. President Joe Biden delayed delivering certain heavy bombs since May over concerns about the continuing Israeli attacks in Gaza, but his administration fought back last week against Netanyahu’s charges that other shipments had also been affected.

Biden, running for reelection to a second four-year term, is facing conflicting political pressures over the Israeli-Hamas conflict.

Progressive Democrats have called for him to adopt a tougher stance toward Israel, with Biden warning Netanyahu against an all-out assault on the southern Gaza city of Rafah. But the Biden administration has avoided any suggestion that Israel’s expanding push into Rafah has crossed a red line. 

Opposition Republican critics say Biden has moderated his support for an essential Middle East ally. 

Defense Minister Gallant’s office said he would discuss “maintaining Israel’s qualitative edge in the region” with U.S. officials but made no mention of the weapons issue.


The VOA is the Voice of America

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