White House said to ask for list of upcoming arms sales to Israel

US President Joe Biden speaks to reporters before he boards Air Force One, Tuesday, March 5, 2024, in Hagerstown, MD. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
US President Joe Biden speaks to reporters before he boards Air Force One, Tuesday, March 5, 2024, in Hagerstown, MD. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The White House is seeking information about upcoming arms transfers to Israel, Axios reports, but US officials cited by the news outlet insist the move is unconnected to recent murmurs suggesting the administration could rethink weapons sales to Israel.

The report, quoting four US officials, says US President Joe Biden requested that the State Department and Pentagon provide lists of arms set to be shipped to Israel or up for approval.

However, officials describe the move as routine and deny it signals any intention to cut or slow down military. One official says the request was made so the White House can check the transfers against a list provided by Jerusalem of weapons being prioritized by Israel.

“The source added the White House wanted the list in order to help the State Department in prioritizing specific arms transfers and to see if there are any issues that demand White House ‘deconfliction.'”

Nonetheless, the timing of the request, the first such ask since October 7 according to Axios, raises eyebrows. Earlier Thursday, The Washington Post reported that US officials had informed Congress that over 100 arms shipments were sent to Israel in five months of war, and another report in the paper suggested that the administration was mulling slapping restrictions on military aid to ensure its weapons are not used in an Israeli offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

Axios also reports that Israel’s cabinet will in the coming days discuss signed assurances sought by Washington regarding the use of arms sold by the US, which could imperil weapons transfers if not provided by March 25.

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