update deskU.S.-Israel Relations

Netanyahu tells US lawmakers he ‘hopes arms issue will be resolved’

The bipartisan delegation of Congress members also met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and other political leaders.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with U.S. lawmakers in Jerusalem, June 19, 2024. Photo by Haim Zach/GPO.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with U.S. lawmakers in Jerusalem, June 19, 2024. Photo by Haim Zach/GPO.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a bipartisan delegation of members of the Congress on Wednesday that he hopes the issue of American arms transfers to the Jewish state will soon be resolved.

“The Prime Minister expressed his appreciation for the bipartisan support for Israel, and said that he hopes that the arms issue will be resolved in the near future,” his office said in a statement following the meeting in Jerusalem.

The delegation is being led by Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), and includes Reps. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Jake Ellzey (R-Texas), Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa), Glenn Ivey (D-Mass.), Greg Landsman (D-Ohio), Lucy McBath (D-Ga.) and Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), as well as AIPAC Israel Director Cameron Brown.

On the Israeli side, the prime minister’s Cabinet secretary Yossi Fox, military secretary Maj. Gen. Roman Gofman and political adviser Ofir Fleck also participated.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog also met on Wednesday with the congressional delegation.

“I say repeatedly, we are utterly grateful to the United States of America for standing with us in this war. And I’m very grateful to the president of the United States for being here at the beginning of the war and sending a clear message on behalf of the American people,” said Herzog.

“And we also respect tremendously the bipartisan support that crosses all divides and conflicts within American society. We are fighting here the battle of the free world against the Empire of Evil. That’s why together we must stay together. And if we have anything to discuss, it should be discussed quietly,” he added.

The congressional delegation also met on Wednesday with opposition leader Yair Lapid and former War Cabinet minister Benny Gantz, along with other members of the Knesset.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the White House is holding up delivery of a fleet of F-15 jet fighters to Israel.

Referring to last week’s Israel visit by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Netanyahu in a social media post on Tuesday asked the Biden administration to stop slow-walking the delivery of vital arms for Israel’s war effort.

“When Secretary Blinken was recently here in Israel, we had a candid conversation. … I said it’s inconceivable that in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunitions to Israel,” the prime minister said.

Asked about Netanyahu’s remarks on Tuesday, Blinken didn’t refer to the F-15 sale, saying that a single shipment of 2,000-pound bombs remains under review, but that all of the other arms deliveries are moving forward.

On Wednesday afternoon, Prime Minister’s Office spokesman David Mencer told JNS that U.S. Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew informed Netanyahu that the ammunition and weapons that he had referred to in the video are “in the process of being delivered to Israel.”

Earlier on Wednesday, the Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on reports that a high-level meeting with U.S. officials was canceled after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the Biden administration for withholding arms from the Jewish state.

According to Axios, the White House informed Israel on Tuesday that the scheduled “strategic dialogue” in Washington would not take place. The outlet cited two U.S. officials who claimed the move came in response to Netanyahu’s public criticism of the administration over its “inconceivable” arms embargo.

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