Netanyahu says US providing ‘trickle’ of ammunition, weapons

Netanyahu says US providing ‘trickle’ of ammunition, weapons

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is doubling down on criticisms that U.S. ammunition and weapons deliveries are arriving to Israel in a “trickle,” adding that he is airing private disagreements to force a change in the situation.

“I felt that airing it was absolutely necessary after months of quiet conversation that did not solve the problem,” Netanyahu said in an interview with Punchbowl News that was published Friday morning.

“I raised this issue with Secretary [of State Antony] Blinken. And I said that we are being told by our Defense Department officials that barely a trickle is coming in. He said, ‘Well, everything is in process. We’re doing everything to untangle it. And to clear up the bottlenecks.’”

The Biden administration is rejecting Netanyahu’s characterization of the pace of U.S. weapons deliveries.

White House national security communications adviser John Kirby called Netanyahu’s criticisms — first aired in a video posted to social media — “vexing,” “disappointing,” and “incorrect,” in a call with reporters Thursday.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller separately rejected that there are any “bottlenecks” stifling U.S. weapons and ammunition deliveries to Israel.

President Biden has paused one delivery of heavy bombs to Israel, which U.S. officials say is under a review. The pause in heavy bomb shipments came as Biden has faced mounting criticisms from Democrats and protests across the country over how U.S. weapons are contributing to the heavy toll of death and destruction suffered by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

“There is one shipment of high-payload munitions that we have put under review and that remains under review. That’s not a bottleneck; that’s a policy review,” Miller said Thursday.

“Other shipments of weapons have been moving regularly to Israel, because we are committed to Israel’s long-term defense, and that includes things that have nothing to do with the war in Gaza but are capabilities related to Israel’s long-term security, defending itself against, for example, the threat from Iran.”

Earlier this week, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released a hold on a military sale for Israel that would include 50 F-15 fighter jets, air-to-air missiles, and JDAMs — attachments to unguided bombs to make them precision missiles.

Netanyahu’s public attacks against the Biden administration come one month before the longtime Israeli leader is set to address a joint session of Congress.

Some Democrats have called for Biden to hold back weapons deliveries as leverage for Netanyahu to shift course on the war conduct in Gaza and his policies toward the Palestinians, while Republicans have made a stronger show of support for Israel.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) released a statement Friday saying he was “deeply concerned” about Netanyahu’s reports of delays in U.S. weapons deliveries.

“It is unacceptable for the Biden administration to play politics with Israel’s security,” he wrote on the social platform X.

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