US cancels meeting with Israelis after Netanyahu ‘attack’ video

Ties have been strained between Netanyahu (shown) and Biden over Israel’s military conduct in Gaza [Getty/file photo]

The White House has cancelled a meeting that was scheduled for Thursday between high-level US and Israeli officials after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched into a televised tirade claiming Washington was withholding key military aid it needs to “finish the job in Gaza.

Citing two US officials, American news site Axios reported that the US-Israeli meeting was cancelled after Netanyahu released a video Tuesday, criticising the Biden administration for denying crucial Israel military assistance.

The premier implied this was slowing Israel’s offensive in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, where the assault has exacerbated the already dire humanitarian situation for Palestinians in the besieged and bombed-out territory.

The video reportedly enraged US President Joe Biden’s top advisers.

“This decision makes it clear that there are consequences for pulling such stunts,” one US official told Axios.

“The Americans are fuming. Bibi’s video made a lot of damage,” a senior Israeli official said, using a popular nickname for Netanyahu.

Axios reported that some Israeli officials were already on their way to Washington when the meeting was scrapped.

A third US official told the news site that the meeting was postponed rather than cancelled all together.

Ties between Netanyahu and Biden have been strained for months over the war on Gaza and the colossal death toll.

Biden has delayed delivering certain heavy bombs to his closest ally since May over concerns about the potential for killing civilians. However, the administration has gone to lengths to avoid any suggestion that Israeli forces have crossed a red line in the deepening Rafah invasion, which would trigger a more sweeping ban on arms transfers.

Netanyahu, in a short video, spoke directly to the camera in English as he lobbed sharp criticisms at Biden over “bottlenecks” in arms transfers.

“It’s inconceivable that in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunitions to Israel,”Netanyahu said. “Give us the tools and we’ll finish the job a lot faster.”

Netanyahu didn’t elaborate on what weapons were being held back.

The US has given Israel crucial military and diplomatic support since the war against Gaza began on 7 October.

Two top Democrats in Congress have cleared the way for Washington’s $15 billion sale of F-15s to Israel to move forward after a delay, while one sought answers from the Biden administration on Israel’s current use of US weapons in the war on Gaza.

Over 37,000 people have been killed in Israel’s relentless offensive, with thousands more presumed dead beneath the rubble. Nearly all the territory’s 2.3 million people have been displaced and parts of Gaza are already witnessing famine.

Mediated negotiations by the US, Qatar and Egypt have so far failed to reach a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group, which Tel Aviv says it wants to dismantle.

(Agencies contributed to this report)

Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *