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White House Scraps US-Israel Meeting After Netanyahu Slams Washington

by | Jun 20, 2024

White House Scraps US-Israel Meeting After Netanyahu Slams Washington

by | Jun 20, 2024

512px vice president joe biden visit to israel march 2016 (25351747720)

U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

In a video, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed the US actions were “inconceivable.”

The White House canceled a high-level US meeting with Israeli officials after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the Biden administration for delaying arms transfers to Tel Aviv. The Israeli leader said he needed the arms to finish the job in Gaza.

On Wednesday, Axios reported that Israeli and US officials said the White House was “enraged” by a video that Netanyahu posted the day before. The Israeli officials were en route to Washington when the Biden administration canceled the meeting. In the one-minute video in English, the Israeli prime minister blasted the Biden administration for withholding support.

“When Secretary Blinken was recently here in Israel, we had a candid conversation. I said I deeply appreciate the support the US has given Israel from the beginning of the war. But I also said something else,” he said. “I said it is inconceivable that in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunition to Israel.”

After the video was posted to X, US officials said they were unaware of what arms shipments Netanyahu was referring to. “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 explained. “But everything else is moving as it normally would move and, again, with the perspective of making sure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself against this multiplicity of challenges.”

The statement from America’s top diplomat is in sharp contrast to Netanyahu’s remarks, in which he claimed that he personally spoke with Blinken about the issue. “Secretary Blinken assured me that the administration is working day and night to remove these blocks. I certainly hope that is the case. It should be the case,” he explained in the video.

Tel Aviv has not elaborated on Netanyahu’s claims about weapons shipment delays. One adviser to the prime minister referred the media to speak with Washington.

Axios reported the Iran meeting was canceled to show Netanyahu that his actions have consequences. “This decision makes it clear that there are consequences for pulling such stunts,” a US official told the outlet.

President Biden sent his envoy Amos Hochstein to deliver the message to Netanyahu personally. Hochstein is in the Middle East attempting to reduce tensions between Israel and Hezbollah. He is reportedly pessimistic about Washington’s ability to prevent an Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

While the White House scrapped the Iran strategic dialogue meeting between the US and Israeli military, high-level meetings will continue as planned. National security adviser Jake Sullivan will still meet his Israeli counterpart, Tzachi Hanegbi.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is also still scheduled to visit early next week, Israeli officials told Axios. Gallant, along with Netanyahu, is facing a potential arrest warrant for war crimes from the International Criminal Court.

Tel Aviv and Washington have used the Iran strategic dialogue in recent months to express displeasure with each other. In March, Israel pulled out of the meeting over a US Security Council on Gaza.

Reprint from Antiwar.com

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of Antiwar.com and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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