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The United States suspended a shipment of Hellfire missiles (air-to-ground missiles) to Israel in July during Operation Protective Edge. The reports released Thursday claim the United State’s decision to hold the transfer of arms was due to increased diplomatic tensions and what is being called a “crisis” in Israel-American relations.
A US official confirmed the report claiming that the US State Department “ordered greater oversight” over arms transfer to Israel following a previous arms transfer to Israel and due to “diplomatic tensions.”
According to the report by The Wall Street Journal, which has not been supported by the US government, claims the US halted the missiles transfer to Israel after Prime Minister Netanyahu reportedly bypassed both President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry instead going straight to the Pentagon to secure ammunition in July.
The report states that the “Israeli military had been quietly securing supplies of ammunition from the Pentagon without their approval”- however no presidential approval or signoff by the secretary of state was required according to officials.
The report claims at least $3 million in ammunitions including 120-mm mortar shell and 40-mm illuminating rounds were requested by Israel’s Defense Ministry from the U.S. military on July 20 and even reports that the ammunition was previously stored at a “pre-positioned weapons stockpile in Israel.” The request was approved three days later, but was not reported to the public.
Former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren to the United States responded to the report, stating “There is a claim in the Wall Street Journal that Israel went around the back of the United States to get a resupply of ammunition from the Pentagon, that it didn’t get permission from the White House. I can only tell you as an ambassador that is impossible because there’s a very specific and deeply embedded procedure for doing that and Israel, in order to get access to preposition military equipment in this country, American equipment, has to go through the administration.”
Current Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer stated on the report that “The allegations are unfounded. Israel deeply appreciates the support we have received during the recent conflict in Gaza from both the Obama administration and the Congress for Israel’s right to defend itself and for increased funding of Iron Dome.”
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Amir Tsarfati, a Jewish Christian, is the founder and president of Behold Israel, a news site to correct the scarcity in trustworthy reportage on issues and events impacting Israel, and to resolve the uncertainty about who or what to believe.