No pauses or withholding of shipping weapons to Israel, says White House

WASHINGTON: The United States reacted strongly on Tuesday after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested that ally Washington was withholding critical weapons from his country as it wages war against Hamas in Gaza.

“Let me just start off by saying that we genuinely do not know what he’s talking about,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.

With the exception of “one particular shipment of munitions” that US officials were examining closely, Jean-Pierre stated, “there are no other pauses. None.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken had said earlier Tuesday that Washington is “continuing to review one shipment… with regard to 2,000-pound bombs because of our concerns about their use in a densely populated area like Rafah,” a city in southern Gaza.

However, the top American diplomat emphasized that other weapons were moving as usual and that Washington was “making sure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself.”

The pointed reaction from the White House came hours after Netanyahu said Blinken had assured him the US government was working “day and night” to address the delay in the arrival of the weapons.

In a video statement, Netanyahu expressed his appreciation for America’s support during the Gaza crisis, but also conveyed his frustration, stating he had told Blinken, “it’s inconceivable that in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunitions to Israel.”

The United States is Israel’s main military backer, but the White House has voiced frustration over the rising civilian death toll in Gaza, where Israel has conducted more than eight months of operations against Hamas.

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