White House Fuming, Cancels Meeting With Israelis, After Netanyahu's Public Scolding

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Jun 19, 2024 - 06:55 PM

On Monday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chastised the White House in a rare video message, calling President Biden's withholding of some defense aid to Israel "inconceivable"

However the White House has hit back, with press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre soon after the provocative statement issuing a rejection of the Israeli leader's narrative. "We genuinely do not know what he’s talking about. We just don’t," she told reporters.

She noted in a Monday afternoon briefing that "there was one particular shipment of munitions that was paused, and you’ve heard us talk about that many times." Jean-Pierre then emphasized, "There are no other pauses — none — no other pauses or holds in place."

Via ABC News

But here's what the Israeli prime minister had charged in the video: "It’s inconceivable that in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunitions to Israel. Israel, America’s closest ally, fighting for its life, fighting against Iran and our other common enemies," he had said.

Behind the scenes, this has reportedly left Biden admin officials fuming. The White House has as a result taken the rare step of canceling a high-level US-Israel meeting in protest. The scheduled meeting was to focus on Iran.

A senior US official told Axios on Tuesday, "This decision makes it clear that there are consequences for pulling such stunts." The official further described, "The Americans are fuming. Bibi's video made a lot of damage."

The same report said that some of the Israeli officials were already en route to Washington when the meeting was canceled, however, other sources said the meeting was merely postponed and tried to downplay that it was a punitive action.

The US gives Israel over $3 billion in foreign aid every year, and has also pledged billions more in weapons, including advanced fighter jets, throughout the course of the Gaza war. "Biden's team was angry and shocked by Netanyahu's ingratitude," another US official was quoted in Axios as saying.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has meanwhile confirmed 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."

Netanyahu is fully aware that his words could also play heavily in the November US presidential election...

The White House has for months maintained contradictory policies on Gaza - on the one hand decrying the soaring civilian death toll which are especially the result of large-scale airstrikes, and on the other supplying Israel's military with the very bombs used to inflict such atrocities. 

Progressives and Democrats are increasingly pulling their support from Biden over the issue, and this week's fresh spat with Netanyahu could be Biden's attempt to show his base he won't be bossed around by a foreign ally. The White House has continually said the Israelis shouldn't cross 'red lines' - but Biden has been hesitant to actually impose consequences when said lines are violated - for example in the Rafah ground offensive, which the US has stood against from the start.