White House cancels meeting, scolds Netanyahu in protest over video

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken during a visit by Blinken to Israel. Photo: Kobi Gideon/Handout via Getty
Published June 19, 2024

The White House canceled a high-level U.S.-Israel meeting on Iran that was scheduled for Thursday after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video on Tuesday claiming the U.S. was withholding military aid, two U.S. officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: President Biden’s top advisers were enraged by the video — a message U.S. envoy Amos Hochstein delivered personally to Netanyahu in a meeting hours after it was published, two U.S. and Israeli sources say. Then the White House decided to go a step farther by canceling Thursday’s meeting.

  • “This decision makes it clear that there are consequences for pulling such stunts,” a U.S. official said.
  • “The Americans are fuming. Bibi’s video made a lot of damage,” a senior Israeli official said, using a nickname for Netanyahu.
  • Some Israeli officials were already en route to Washington when the meeting was cancelled.
  • Two U.S. officials told Axios the meeting was canceled to send a message about the video. A third claimed the meeting was postponed rather than canceled, due to a scheduling issue.

Driving the news: Speaking in English, Netanyahu declared in the video that it was “inconceivable that in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunitions to Israel.”

  • In public, the White House expressed bafflement. Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre noted that only one weapons shipment had been paused since the war began, while billions of dollars of weapons had flowed unimpeded. “We genuinely do not know what he is talking about,” she said.
  • In private, Biden’s team was angry and shocked by Netanyahu’s ingratitude, according to one U.S. official.
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SOURCE: www.axios.com

RELATED: White House questions Netanyahu’s criticism over weapons delay

The White Houses said only one shipment of weapons to Israel had been paused
Published June 19, 2024

The White House has pushed back against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claims that the US is “withholding” weapons and ammunition from Israel, hours after he lashed out at the Biden administration.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed an ongoing pause remained on one particular shipment of bombs, echoing comments from Secretary of State Antony Blinken hours beforehand, but she insisted no other weapons were being withheld.

“We genuinely do not know what he’s talking about,” Ms Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday.

Mr Netanyahu’s comments were an attempt to remove the block on a single weapons consignment announced by the White House last month over the way the arms were being used in Gaza

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SOURCE: www.bbc.com

RELATED: Israel’s Netanyahu blames Biden for withholding weapons. US officials say that’s not the whole story

Published June 19, 2024

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday claimed the United States is withholding weapons and implied this was slowing Israel’s offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where fighting has exacerbated the already dire humanitarian situation for Palestinians.

President Joe Biden has delayed delivering certain heavy bombs since May over concerns about Israel’s killing of civilians in Gaza. Yet the administration has gone to lengths to avoid any suggestion that Israeli forces have crossed a red line in the deepening Rafah invasion, which would trigger a more sweeping ban on arms transfers.

Netanyahu, in a short video, spoke directly to the camera in English as he lobbed sharp criticisms at Biden over “bottlenecks” in arms transfers.

“It’s inconceivable that in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunitions to Israel,” Netanyahu said, adding, “Give us the tools and we’ll finish the job a lot faster.”

Netanyahu also claimed U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a recent visit to Israel, said he was working around the clock to end the delays.

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SOURCE: www.apnews.com

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