Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

Biden administration discussing slowing some weaponry deliveries to Israel to pressure Netanyahu

By 37ci3 Jan29,2024

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration is discussing using arms sales to Israel as a means of persuading Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to heed longstanding calls for the United States to scale back its military offensive on the Gaza Strip, according to three current and one former US official. US official.

At the direction of the White House, the Pentagon is reviewing what weapons Israel is requesting that could be used as leverage, the sources said. They said that no decision has been made.

Israeli officials continue to request more weapons from the administration, including large aerial bombs, ammunition and anti-aircraft defenses, the sources said.

The U.S. is considering slowing or halting deliveries after weeks of private administration inquiries yielded less results than the White House wanted, sources said, prompting the Israelis to take measures such as opening humanitarian corridors for more aid. Aid to Palestinian civilians.

Among the weapons the U.S. is discussing using as leverage are 155mm artillery shells and joint direct attack munitions (JDAMs), which have guidance kits that turn dummy bombs into precision-guided munitions, officials said. The administration will likely continue to introduce other conversion kits that make Israeli ammunition more accurate, the officials said.

Officials said they were unlikely to slow the delivery of air defenses, as well as other systems that could protect Israeli civilians and infrastructure from attack. The administration is focusing on offensive military hardware as it considers what it can hold back or delay.

Administration officials have also discussed offering the Israeli government more of the weapons it has requested as an incentive to take some of the steps the United States has demanded.

The effort comes weeks after President Joe Biden and his national security team failed to persuade Netanyahu and other Israeli officials to dramatically change tactics in Gaza and take more steps to minimize civilian casualties. It marks a potential shift in Biden’s approach, moving beyond rhetorical pressure, mostly behind the scenes, and making tangible policy changes aimed at moving Israel.

Some Democrats in Congress have called on the administration to do more to pressure Netanyahu and other Israeli officials.

The National Security Council spokesman has so far defended the administration’s position on the conflict. “As the president has made clear, he believes the approach he’s taking is more effective,” the spokesman said. “Israel has the right and obligation to defend itself against the threat of Hamas by complying with international humanitarian law and protecting civilian lives, and we remain committed to supporting Israel in its fight against Hamas.”

After this article was published, a spokesperson added: “We have done this since October 7 and will continue to do so. There has been no change in our policy.”

Sources said senior Biden administration officials continue to be frustrated that Israel has ignored calls for greater vigilance to minimize harm to Palestinian citizens, with the worsening humanitarian situation in Khan Yunis as the latest example. That frustration has recently grown inside the Pentagon, where Biden and other White House officials have long been frustrated with Netanyahu’s handling of the war.

For weeks, Biden said he was doing everything he could to get Israel to change its military tactics.

On January 8, Biden said when confronted by protesters calling for a cease-fire, “I am working quietly with the Israeli government to ensure that they reduce and substantially withdraw from Gaza.” “I did my best for it.”

While White House officials acknowledge that Israeli government officials have not yet gone as far as the president would like, they argue that Biden has had some success.

A senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to speak candidly, said he was disappointed with Israeli officials. “There are more things that need to be done and they need to be more careful,” the official said.

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By 37ci3

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