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5 May, 2024 20:49

US froze military aid shipment to Israel – Axios

A pause would mark the first time since October that Washington has withheld supplies to the Jewish state’s military
US froze military aid shipment to Israel – Axios

The US abruptly halted a planned shipment of American-made ammunition to Israel last week, Axios reported on Sunday. The White House, which has become increasingly more critical of Israel’s conduct in Gaza, has not explained the alleged interruption.

Two Israeli officials told the outlet that the delivery had been inexplicably stopped last week, leaving the Israeli government “scrambling to understand why the shipment was held.”

The White House declined to comment when asked by Axios, while the Pentagon, US State Department and the Israeli prime minister’s office refused to respond to questions.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared war on Hamas after the Palestinian militants launched a surprise attack on October 7 last year, killing around 1,200 people and taking around 250 hostages. Seven months later and with the death toll from Israels retaliation approaching 35,000, US President Joe Biden and his officials have grown increasingly critical of the Israeli PM.

Biden has declared that an Israeli invasion of the civilian-crowded city of Rafah would be a “red line,” and publicly rebuked Netanyahu over “indiscriminate” bombing of Gaza. The State Department has also sanctioned Israeli settlers in the West Bank, while the US abstained from a UN Security Council vote in March allowing a measure demanding an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas to pass.

Despite the shift in rhetoric, the Biden administration has also kept weapons and ammunition flowing to Israel, reportedly approving more than 100 arms deliveries to the Jewish state since October 7. 

The contents of these packages are generally not revealed to the public unless their value exceeds $250 million, and only two have passed this threshold. These large packages were approved last month and included more than 1,800 MK84 2,000-pound bombs and 500 MK82 500-pound bombs, as well as over 1,000 small-diameter munitions.