White House Cancels Meeting After Bibi Calls Out Biden for Withholding Arms Shipment

White House Cancels Meeting After Bibi Calls Out Biden for Withholding Arms Shipment

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video on Tuesday claiming that the US was withholding arms shipments.

“When Secretary Blinken was recently here in Israel, we had a candid conversation,” Netanyahu said in the video. “I said, I deeply appreciated the support the US has given Israel from the beginning of the war. But I also said something else. I said it’s inconceivable that in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunition to Israel, America’s closest ally, fighting for its life, fighting against Iran, and our other common enemies.”

“Secretary Blinken assured me that the administration is working day and night to remove these bottlenecks. I certainly hope that’s the case. It should be the case. During World War Two, Churchill told the United States, give us the tools and we will do the job. And I say, give us the tools and we’ll finish the job a lot faster.”

In response to the video, the White House canceled a meeting scheduled for Thursday between officials from the State Department, Pentagon, and U.S. intelligence agencies, along with their Israeli counterparts.

Axios noted that this was the second time an Iran strategic dialogue meeting had been canceled at the last minute. In March, Netanyahu canceled a similar meeting after the U.S. declined to veto a UN Security Council resolution that included a reference to a ceasefire in Gaza.

“We, as you know, are continuing to review one shipment that President Biden has talked about with regard to 2,000-pound bombs because of our concerns about their use in a densely populated area like Rafah,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during a State Department news conference. “That remains under review. But everything else is moving as it normally would.”

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed that the Israeli PM’s statements were baseless, claiming that only one weapons shipment had been paused since the war began. 

“We genuinely do not know what he is talking about,” she said.

An arms shipment was put on hold in May to signal U.S. concerns over the  Israeli ground operation in Rafah. It included 3,500 bombs for fighter jets, many of which were 2,000-pound bombs. That shipment is still being delayed. 

Despite the White House statements to the contrary, a the Wall Street Journal report on Wednseday claimed that the U.S. is intentionally delaying the $18 billion sale of 50 F-15 fighter jets– one of the largest sales of its type in recent history. The report claimed that the sale had been postponed even though issues potentially holding up the transfer had been resolved. Congress officially approved the sale last month after two Democrats who initially opposed it withdrew their objections.

Biden has been facing increasing pressure from anti-Israel elements in the Democratic party to cut off or make military aid to Israel conditional. It is unclear whether the delay violates the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in 2016 in which the US guaranteed a total of $38 billion in military aid to Israel over the next 10 years.

Netanyahu is scheduled to address a joint session of the US Congress on July 24th.  A growing list of Democrats are announcing they will boycott the Israeli leader’s address. Netanyahu has still not been invited to meet with Biden at the White House.

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