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As White House expresses renewed disappointment over Netanyahu claims of arms holdup, Sen. Cotton demands explanation

Netanyahu says ‘significant problems’ that he ‘tried to iron out’ started a few months ago

U.S. White House National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, May 28, 2024. (Photo: REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz)

The White House expressed fresh disappointment on Thursday over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s accusations of withholding weapons to Israel by the United States. 

The statements made by White House National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby came ahead of security meetings with several Israeli officials, including National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi and Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, as well as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. 

Kirby told reporters at the White House that Netanyahu’s statements were “perplexing.” 

“It was perplexing, to say the least, certainly disappointing, especially given that no other country is doing more to help Israel defend itself against the threat by Hamas,” Kirby said on Thursday. 

Calling the accusation “vexing and disappointing to us as much as it was incorrect,” the White House spokesman said, “The idea that we had somehow stopped helping Israel with their self-defense needs is absolutely not accurate.” 

Meanwhile, Netanyahu stuck to his claims of a weapons slowdown following Kirby’s remarks. 

On Thursday, the Israeli prime minister stated, "I am ready to suffer personal attacks provided that Israel receives from the U.S. the ammunition it needs in the war for its existence.” 

Speaking to Punchbowl News on Thursday, Netanyahu acknowledged the support Israel has received from the U.S. 

“I deeply appreciate the support given by President Biden and the United States administration for our war effort from the beginning,” Netanyahu said.

“President Biden came here, he sent two carrier groups, and he gave us valuable assistance and ammunition and weapons from the beginning of the war. I appreciate that and I remain appreciative.” 

Netanyahu also said that Israel noticed a slowdown in weapons shipments a few months ago and addressed it with the United States.

“We began to see that we had some significant problems emerging a few months ago. And in fact, we tried, in many, many quiet conversations between our officials and American officials, in between me and the president to try to iron out,” he stated. “And we haven’t been able to solve it.” 

Netanyahu confirmed that he was not referring to a delay in fighter jets, as reported by The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. 

“I’m aware that there has been a great slowdown in the provision of the important ammunition and weapons. I’m not talking about F-35s or F-16s that are years down the line. I’m talking about what is necessary now to both win the war in Gaza quickly and avoid a war in Lebanon that, in the absence of such a correction, the risks of it breaking out are increasing.” 

On Thursday, U.S. Senator Tom Cotton accused the White House of “bureaucratic sleight-of-hand to withhold crucial aid to Israel during a shooting war.” 

The senator sent a letter to President Joe Biden, accusing the U.S. administration of “playing politics with the nation’s honor and our ally’s security.” 

Cotton demanded to know “what weapons and ammunition are being withheld from Israel” and asked that Biden provide a list of “all foreign military and direct commercial sales requested by Israel” along with their status, an explanation of what “issues are hampering” delivery of weapons, and “how much of the recent supplemental funding passed by Congress” had actually been delivered. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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