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    Tuesday, July 16, 2024

    Netanyahu tells U.S. ‘give us the tools and we’ll finish the job’

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the U.S. must keep supplying weapons for its war against Hamas, accusing President Joe Biden of withholding arms as the country is “fighting for its life.”

    In an English-language video statement released Tuesday, Netanyahu said he told U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken during his visit to Israel last week that he appreciates Washington’s support but that it’s “inconceivable” any weapons or ammunition have been withheld in the past few months.

    “During World War II, Churchill told the United States: ‘give us the tools, we’ll do the job,’” Netanyahu said. “And I say, give us the tools and we’ll finish the job a lot faster.’”

    The U.S. has become increasingly critical of Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip to root out Hamas, the group designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. and European Union that killed more than 1,200 Israelis and abducted more than 250 on Oct. 7, triggering the ongoing war. More than 37,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, which doesn’t differentiate between combatants and civilians.

    Biden has withheld one shipment of 2,000-pound bombs to signal his frustration and said last month that he would halt additional shipments of offensive weapons if the country launched a full-scale ground invasion of Rafah. Israeli tanks were reported to have reached the center of the town May 28, in what the military called a limited and precise set of operations.

    Netanyahu didn’t specify if more weapons or ammunition had been withheld by the U.S., Israel’s biggest arms supplier.

    Blinken, speaking in Washington later Tuesday, said a review is ongoing on that one shipment of bombs but that “everything else is moving as it normally would move.” U.S. officials have also said privately that Israel has enough weapons for its Rafah campaign, as well as an additional stockpiles if the conflict in the north with Hezbollah escalates.

    The White House and Netanyahu’s office didn’t immediately respond to separate requests for comment.

    The Israeli leader added that Blinken assured him the administration is working “day and night” to remove any bottlenecks.

    Two key Democratic holdouts in the House and Senate signed off on a major arms sale to Israel, including 50 F-15 fighter jets valued at more than $18 billion, following pressure from the White House and pro-Israel advocates, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

    Netanyahu is scheduled to address the US Congress in late July.

    Separately on Tuesday, chief executive officers from major U.S. companies, including Pfizer Inc., Palantir Technologies Inc. and Oracle Corp. were invited to meet with senators at the Capitol to press for support of Israel. Senator John Cornyn of Texas said the meeting also touched on how regional countries like Saudi Arabia can play a role in Gaza after the war.

    With assistance from Ethan Bronner, Courtney McBride, Steven T. Dennis and Iain Marlow.

    Comment threads are monitored for 48 hours after publication and then closed.