Leading US general says Israel not getting all weapons it asks for

Joint Chiefs of Staff head Charles Brown Jr. tells group Washington unwilling to provide some arms, doesn’t have capacity for others; his spokesperson denies any change in policy

A U.S. C-17 sits at the Nevatim Air Base in the desert in Israel, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023 with crates of American munitions for Israel. (AP/Lolita Baldor)
A U.S. C-17 sits at the Nevatim Air Base in the desert in Israel, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023 with crates of American munitions for Israel. (AP/Lolita Baldor)

The United States’ top general said on Thursday that Israel had not received every weapon it has asked for, in part because some of it could affect the US military’s readiness and there were capacity limitations.

Washington gives $3.8 billion in annual military assistance to Israel, its longtime ally. The United States has been rushing air defenses and munitions to Israel, but some Democrats and Arab American groups have criticized the Biden administration’s steadfast support of Israel, which they say provides it with a sense of impunity.

“Although we’ve been supporting them with capability, they’ve not received everything they’ve asked for,” said Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“Some of that is because they’ve asked for stuff that we either don’t have the capacity to provide or not willing to provide, not right now,” Brown added, while speaking at an event hosted by the Defense Writers Group.

A spokesperson for Brown later on Thursday said his comments were in reference to “a standard practice before providing military aid to any of our allies and partners.”

“We assess US stockpiles and any possible impact on our own readiness to determine our ability to provide the requested aid,” Navy Cpt. Jereal Dorsey said in a statement. “There is no change in US policy. The United States continues to provide security assistance to our ally Israel as they defend themselves from Hamas.”

US President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Charles Brown Jr., attend the dignified transfer of the remains of three US service members killed in the drone attack on the US military outpost in Jordan, at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware, on February 2, 2024. (Roberto Schmidt / AFP)

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Washington earlier this week and the Pentagon said security assistance to Israel was discussed.

“It is a constant dialogue,” Brown said.

US President Joe Biden said earlier this month he would not pull supplies of defensive arms like Iron Dome air-defense missiles, but appeared to leave open the possibility of refusing supplies of offensive weapons.

The Biden administration has grown increasingly critical of Israel in public in recent weeks as the war in Gaza has ground on, threatening to not back the country should it move ahead with a full-scale invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, Hamas’s last major stronghold.

With elections looming in November, Biden’s Democratic Party has sought to show itself as not overly supportive of Israel in hopes of winning over voters unhappy with its backing for the IDF until now.

A destroyed car following an Israeli army raid on Jenin in the West Bank, on March 27, 2024 (Zain Jaafar / AFP)

War erupted on October 7 when thousands of Hamas-led terrorists stormed into southern Israel, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking 253 hostages.

Israel has vowed to eliminate the terror group in self defense, but Washington and others have blanched at the high reported civilian death toll and rampant hunger in the besieged enclave.

More than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip, according to Hamas, which does not differentiate between civilians and combatants. At least 13,000 of those killed have been fighters, Israel says.

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