Netanyahu criticises US for ‘withholding weapons and ammunition’ from Israel

Benjamin Netanyahu says an increased flow of US weapons would help finish the war more quickly
Benjamin Netanyahu says an increased flow of US weapons would help finish the war more quickly - Shaul Golan/AP

Benjamin Netanyahu has hit out at the United States for delaying arms shipments to his government while it is at war.

Israel’s prime minister thanked the White House for its support since the October 7 terror attacks but added on Tuesday that it was “inconceivable that in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunition to Israel”.

In a response that will likely rile the Israeli leader, Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, said that Washington was still reviewing one shipment of large bombs destined for Israel out of concerns that they could be used in densely populated areas.

Mr Netanyahu made his statement in English on his Twitter account late on Tuesday afternoon following media reports that Mr Blinken had made assurances that the US would remove all restrictions on weapons transfers to Israel in the coming days.

Last month, Joe Biden warned Israel that the US would stop supplying arms if Israeli forces were to make a major invasion of Rafah, a city in southern Gaza that has become a refuge for people fleeing the offensive in other parts of the Strip.

Days later, Israeli forces moved into Rafah with the stated aim of targeting Hamas terrorists hiding there and retrieving hostages.

In his post, Mr Netanyahu said he had a “candid conversation” on weapons supplies with Mr Blinken when he was in Israel last week.

“Secretary Blinken assured me that the administration is working day and night to remove these bottlenecks,” he said. “I certainly hope that’s the case. It should be the case.”

An increased flow of US weapons would help finish the war more quickly, he argued.

“During World War II, [UK leader Winston] Churchill told the United States, ‘Give us the tools, we’ll do the job’,” said Mr Netanyahu. “And I say, give us the tools and we’ll finish the job a lot faster.”

On Monday, the Washington Post reported that two key Democrats in the Congress had signed off on a major arms sale to Israel that includes 50 F-15 fighter jets worth more than $18 billion.