PM defends video criticizing US, alleges there was ‘dramatic drop’ in arms shipments to Israel

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on June 23, 2024 (Screen grab/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on June 23, 2024 (Screen grab/GPO)

At the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defends his decision to release an English-language video last week panning the United States for holding up weapons shipments, saying that he had gone public after quiet attempts to solve the problem failed.

After emphasizing his appreciation for US President Joe Biden’s support during the war, Netanyahu alleges that four months ago, there was a “dramatic drop” in the weapons pipeline to Israel.

“For many weeks,” says Netanyahu, “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.”

According to the premier, “certain items trickled in, but the bulk of armaments were left behind.”

Netanyahu’s allegation stands at odds with the version put out by the White House, which insists that there is a hold-up over one shipment of heavy bombs over its potential use in urban areas, while everything else is flowing as usual.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is meeting with top US officials over the issue today in Washington, DC.

“After months with no change in the situation, I decided to express it publicly,” Netanyahu continues, adding that his “years of experience” have taught him that doing so was key to unblocking the aid.

Netanyahu says that — as occurred around his public opposition to the Iran nuclear deal in 2015 and to a Palestinian state — he had expected to come under fire after releasing the video.

“I am ready to suffer personal attacks for the sake of Israel’s security,” Netanyahu declares.

He adds that he believes the issue will be resolved soon.

Netanyahu also announces the names of directors of the commissions tasked with returning displaced residents to their homes and rebuilding communities where needed: former Israel Navy commander Eli Marom for the Tekuma Authority in the Gaza border area, and former IDF Ground Forces commander and Israel Electric Corporation director Yiftah Ron-Tal for the northern authority.

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