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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776
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Obama Holds Up Weapons Transfer to Israel

Tensions between Israel and the Obama administration are at an all-time high.

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An imminent delivery of Hellfire missiles set to arrive in Israel from the US has been held up by the White House.

Moreover, the transfer of any weapons and other military hardware to Israel, even routine munitions requests, is now being blocked by the State Department and the White House.

In clear language, it means that any form of American military aid – once a ‘given’ by Israel’s “closest friend and ally” – is now being scrutinized by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, at a time when Israel is facing an enemy supplied by Iran and Syria, and intent on its destruction.

The move has only served to further wind up an already tense relationship between the White House and Israel.

According to an Israeli government official quoted by the Wall Street Journal, “We’ve been there before with a lot of tension with us and Washington. What we have now, on top of that, is mistrust and a collision of different perspectives on the Middle East. It’s become very personal.”

Specifically, the Pentagon blocked delivery of the Hellfire missiles because officials at the White House and in the State Department were worried about the reaction of Palestinian Arabs in the US and abroad, according to the report.

The WSJ article cited a number of past conflicts between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government. It then went on, however, to say the straw that broke the camel’s back had to do with the attack near the UNRWA school in Gaza.

“The watershed moment came in the early morning in Gaza July 30. An Israeli shell struck a United Nations school in Jabaliya that sheltered about 3,000 people. Later that day, it was reported in the U.S. that the 120-mm and 40-mm rounds had been released to the Israeli military,” WSJ reported.

A US diplomat complained about being “blindsided” and officials at the White House and State Department were disturbed by what they considered a risk to regional stability and Israel’s interests due to a “humanitarian catastrophe,” according to the report.

However, no one was blindsided. The Israelis filed a routine request for munitions as they always did. Israeli bureaucracy is famous for its automated mentality, which is set in motion months in advance. Even the draft notices for upcoming 18-year-olds begin two years earlier – at age 16 – and then are sent out six months before the actual appointment.

A US defense official also said there was nothing unusual about the request.

“There was no intent to blindside anyone. The process for this transfer was followed precisely along the lines that it should have,” the official said.

But with regard to the July 30 attack, the information was reported from Gaza inaccurately from the start, deliberately manipulating and inciting American officials.

Pallywood wins again – but it is a bit odd that top government officials could so easily be misled, unless it’s an active choice on their part.

That’s not the fault of American media but rather due to the Hamas propaganda machine and the willingness of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to collaborate.

It’s also due to the need for journalists to stay alive; there have been more than a few reporters who have managed to leave Gaza and later were courageous enough to admit they were threatened with death if they were to photograph, let alone report, the truth of what they were doing to their own civilians there.

The lone shell that was fired struck outside the school compound, as was already admitted by at least one UNRWA official in a tweet several hours after the event.

Rachel Levy

About the Author: Rachel Levy is a freelance journalist who has written for Jewish publications in New York, New Jersey and Israel.


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