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US cancels meeting after Netanyahu criticises Biden administration over arms delays

June 19, 2024 at 3:09 pm

A view of the North side of the White House, Washington, DC, USA [Getty]

The White House has cancelled high-level talks between American and Israeli security officials in Washington, following a video posted by Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, criticising the Biden administration for delays in arms supplies to Israel.

According to Axios, the cancellation was intended to send a message to Netanyahu that such public criticism was unacceptable. “This decision makes it clear that there are consequences for pulling such stunts,” a US official was quoted as saying.

A senior Israeli official added, “The Americans are fuming. [Netanyahu’s] video caused a lot of damage.”

“It’s inconceivable that in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunition to Israel,” Netanyahu said in the video. “Israel, America’s closest ally, is fighting for its life, fighting against Iran and our other common enemies.”

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

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The video comes after Strategic Affairs Minister, Ron Dermer, and National Security Adviser, Tzachi Hanegbi, were scheduled to fly to Washington for national security meetings with their White House counterparts, the Prime Minister’s Office told The Times of Israel last week.

The White House refuted Netanyahu’s claims of weapons shipment delays, stating that only one shipment of 2,000-pound bombs was under review due to concerns about their use in the densely populated southern Gazan city of Rafah, while all other shipments were proceeding as planned.

“We genuinely do not know what Netanyahu is talking about. We just don’t,” said Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, on Tuesday.

President Joe Biden, last month, warned Israel that the US would stop supplying its weapons if Israeli forces make a major invasion of Rafah, a refugee-packed city in southern Gaza.

Days later, Israeli forces began an offensive in Rafah, saying Hamas members were hiding there and reiterating that eliminating Hamas and bringing back hostages were Israel’s main goals.

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

Representative Gregory Meeks and Senator Ben Cardin, it said, have signed off on the deal under heavy pressure from the Biden administration after the two lawmakers had, for months, held up the sale.

WATCH: Footage shows Rafah crossing ‘completely destroyed’