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Israel: Netanyahu denies approving US arms delivery to Palestinian Authority

September 14, 2023 at 9:23 am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on April 12, 2021 [US Air Force Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders/wikimedia]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday denied media reports claiming that his government had approved a shipment of weapons to the Palestinian security forces.

Israeli Army Radio had reported that the recent shipment of over 1,500 rifles and eight armoured vehicles from the United States to the PA security forces received approval from the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

Sources within Israel’s Finance Ministry revealed that Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich was kept in the dark about the approval and is reportedly furious about the situation.

The report caused outrage within Netanyahu’s hard-line government, forcing him to refute the reports as “fake”.

“There is no limit to the fake news, so here are the facts: since this government was established, it has not transferred any weapons, not even one, to the Palestinian Authority,” Netanyahu said.

“What we did do was implement a decision made by [former] Defence Minister Benny Gantz in January 2022, to transfer a number of armoured vehicles to replace other armoured vehicles that had become obsolete,” he added.

“That’s what we’ll do. No armour, no tanks, no Kalashnikovs, no nothing,” he said.

Netanyahu reportedly met with Smotrich and ordered all decisions made by the previous government regarding the PA to be brought to the National Security Council, “with the aim of tightening supervision and making sure that the current government’s policy is implemented.”

For his part, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant denied Netanyahu’s claims,  adding that since he took office, no weapons have been approved for transfer to the PA, adding that “any attempt to portray things differently is wrong”.

According to the Israeli Army Radio, Israel approved the supply of weapons to the Palestinian security services in the occupied West Bank on condition the weapons be used against the resistance fighters and groups.

READ: PA receives armoured vehicles, weapons from US with Israel approval: media reports