Netanyahu willing to ‘suffer personal attacks’ if US sends weapons amid White House row

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was willing to “suffer personal attacks” if the U.S. sends weapons after the Biden administration criticized him for a video earlier this week that expressed misgivings about Washington’s arms support for his country.

“I am ready to suffer personal attacks provided that Israel receives from the US the ammunition it needs in the war for its existence,” Netanyahu wrote on his personal account on the social media platform X.

Netanyahu claimed in a video Tuesday that he spoke to Secretary of State Antony Blinken about the U.S. withholding weapons shipments to Israel, sparking immediate backlash from the White House.

Blinken quickly denied the claims during a Tuesday press conference, while White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters: “We genuinely do not know what he’s talking about.”

Netanyahu’s reply Thursday came just hours after White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told reporters that the Israeli prime minister’s video “was perplexing.”

“Those comments were deeply disappointing and vexing to us,” Kirby said.

A high-level meeting between U.S. and Israeli officials reportedly was not finalized after Netanyahu’s comments in a sign of how quickly relations have deteriorated over the spat. A similar meeting was also canceled in March after the U.S. declined to veto a resolution in the United Nations Security Council calling for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

The Biden administration is withholding 2,000-pound bombs and 500-pound bombs from Israel over concern about their use in densely populated areas of Gaza, including the southern city of Rafah, but Blinken said this week that he was not aware of any other arms shipments on pause.

Top Democrats on the Foreign Affairs committees in Congress earlier this week approved an $18 billion sale that includes some 50 F-15 fighters jets for Israel. The lawmakers had held back approval for months but were pressured by the Biden administration to give the OK for the arms shipment, which will take years to arrive in Israel.

Democrats, including Biden, have expressed concerns about the death toll in Gaza, where more than 37,000 Palestinians have died in more than eight months of war.

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