Skip to content

US cancels high-level meeting with Israel after Netanyahu’s claims

US cancels high-level meeting with Israel after Netanyahu's claims U.S. President Joe Biden, left, pauses during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, to discuss the war between Israel and Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023. (Reuters)
By Newsroom
Jun 19, 2024 8:46 PM

The White House canceled a high-level meeting with Israel scheduled for Thursday following remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accusing the U.S. of withholding military aid amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

Netanyahu released a video on Tuesday asserting that he had informed Secretary of State Antony Blinken about the U.S. allegedly withholding weapons and ammunition from Israel over the past few months. “It is inconceivable that in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunitions to Israel,” Netanyahu stated.

The remarks provoked strong reactions from President Joe Biden’s top advisers, leading to the meeting’s cancellation. “This decision makes it clear that there are consequences for pulling such stunts,” a U.S. official told Axios. Another source clarified that the meeting was postponed, not canceled altogether.

A senior Israeli official told Axios, “The Americans are fuming. Bibi’s video made a lot of damage.”

The White House’s move underscores the tense dynamics between the two allies. Despite Israel having received substantial U.S. military aid since October 7, the administration took issue with Netanyahu’s claims.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre rejected Netanyahu’s accusations, stating, “We genuinely do not know what he is talking about.” She labeled the claim as “categorically false,” clarifying that only one shipment of 2,000-pound bombs had been withheld amid Israel’s ground offensive in Rafah, over concerns of civilian casualties.

At a press conference, Blinken addressed the issue, noting that the review of the 2,000-pound bomb shipment was ongoing due to concerns about their use in densely populated areas like Rafah. “But everything else is moving as it normally would move to make sure Israel has what it needs to defend itself against a multiplicity of threats,” Blinken said.

In the wake of the video’s release, US envoy Amos Hochstein personally delivered a message to Netanyahu, refuting the accusations as incorrect and inappropriate.

This incident marks the second time a meeting on the Iran strategic dialogue has been canceled at the last minute. A similar cancellation occurred in March after Netanyahu canceled a meeting when the U.S. did not veto a UN Security resolution referencing a ceasefire in Gaza.

Despite these tensions, Netanyahu is expected to address a joint meeting of Congress on July 24, during a critical juncture in the Israel-Hamas war, setting the stage for a potentially contentious speech.

Last Updated:  Jun 20, 2024 12:11 AM