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US cargo plane lands in Israel following Netanyahu's criticism of delayed American arms shipments

June 24, 2024 at 1:26 pm

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference in Ramat Gan, Israel on June 8, 2024 [Jack Guez-Pool/Getty Images]

A US C-17 cargo plane, reportedly carrying weapons and ammunition, landed in Israel on Monday amid the ongoing Israeli conflict with Gaza and daily exchanges of fire with the Lebanese Hezbollah group, Anadolu Agency reports.

This development follows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s public criticism of the US for delayed weapons deliveries, which has strained the allies’ relationship.

“Regarding Prime Minister Netanyahu’s complaint about delayed weapons shipments from the US, a US C-17 cargo plane, used for transporting goods, has just landed in Israel,” Israeli Army Radio reported.

There has been no comment from Israel or the Joe Biden administration on the report as of yet.

Since the beginning of the war on the Gaza Strip on 7 October, 2023, the Biden administration has provided robust military, intelligence and diplomatic support to Tel Aviv.

The plane arrived on the second day of an unannounced visit to Washington by Israeli Defence Minister, Yoav Gallant, where he is discussing American military aid.

READ: 4 Palestinians killed in Israeli strike on UN training centre in Gaza

Speaking during a weekly government meeting, Netanyahu said Sunday there was a “dramatic drop” in the weapons pipeline to Israel.

“For many weeks, we appealed to our American friends to speed up the shipments. We did it time and time again. We did this at the senior echelons and at all levels, and I want to emphasise — we did it in private chambers. We got all kinds of explanations, but we didn’t get one thing: the basic situation didn’t change,” he said.

“Certain items trickled in, but the bulk of armaments were left behind,” he added. “After months with no change in the situation, I decided to express it publicly.”

Netanyahu, however, said he believes the issue will be resolved “soon”.

On Thursday, US National Security Council spokesperson, John Kirby, responded, by saying: “Netanyahu’s claims are deeply disappointing and certainly vexing to us, given the amount of support that we have and will continue to provide Prime Minister Netanyahu.”

Previously, Biden had suspended a weapons deal with Israel due to its “failure to protect Palestinian civilians,” who he claims to be concerned for.

Earlier in June, Tel Aviv inked a $3-billion deal to purchase 25 American F-35 fighter jets. In April, Biden signed a $26.4 billion aid package for Israel, including $14 billion in military assistance.

Flouting a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire, Israel has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since a 7 October, 2023 attack by Hamas.

More than 37,500 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, most of them women and children, and nearly 86,000 others injured, according to local health authorities.

More than eight months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lie in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which in its latest ruling has ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on 6 May.

READ: Netanyahu says US arms delay will be resolved ‘soon’