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Benjamin Netanyahu again claims U.S. arms delay to Israel

By Allen Cone
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a ceremony marking Memorial Day for fallen soldiers of Israel's wars and victims of attacks at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl military cemetery on May 13. Pool photo by Gil Cohen-Magen/UPI
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a ceremony marking Memorial Day for fallen soldiers of Israel's wars and victims of attacks at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl military cemetery on May 13. Pool photo by Gil Cohen-Magen/UPI | License Photo

June 23 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday again criticized the United States for holding up weapons shipments.

At the start of his weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu defended his decision to release a video in English last week about arms. He said four months ago there was a "dramatic drop" in the weapons pipeline to Israel.

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"For many weeks," Netanyahu said "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 emphasize - 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 added that "certain items trickled in, but the bulk of armaments were left behind."

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The White House has said only one shipment of heavy bombs was held up. In May, the Biden administration said it paused 2,000- and 500-pound bombs because it feared Israel might use them in a major ground operation in the densely populated southern Gaza city of Rafah.

"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," White House spokesman John Kirby told reporters last week.

"The idea that we had somehow stopped helping Israel with their self-defense needs is absolutely not accurate," he said, adding it was "vexing and disappointing to us as much as it was incorrect."

Netanyahu has not said what other weapons were held up.

"After months with no change in the situation, I decided to express it publicly," Netanyahu said during the cabinet meeting.

"I am ready to suffer personal attacks for the sake of Israel's security."

These complaints come amid the Israel-Gaza war since October and potential conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. President Joe Biden has been critical of climbing civilian casualties.

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On Friday and Saturday, dozens were reported dead after separate strikes. Officials for the International Committee of the Red Cross officials said a strike Friday hit several tents containing displaced people near Al Mawasi, which the ICRC said killed 22 and injured 45. Another 38 died in strikes that hit the al-Shati neighborhood, known as Beach camp, and the al-Tuffah district, the Hamas-run government media office said.

Netanyahu said he expects the issue will be resolved soon.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant was scheduled to meet with top U.S. officials over the issue Sunday in Washington, D.C.

"The United States is our most important and central ally. Our ties are crucial and perhaps more important than ever, at this time," Gallant told reporters, according to a statement from the Israel's defense ministry.

Gallant spoke of the transition to a "Phase C" in Gaza. It's unclear whether he was referring to a different stage in the fighting or how to prepare for post-conflict.

"I will discuss this transition with U.S. officials, touching on how it may enable additional things [to take place], and I know that we will achieve close cooperation with the U.S. on this issue as well," Gallant said.

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Netanyahu plans to address the U.S. Congress on July 24.

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