US halted weapons transfer to Israel during Gaza offensive
Amid diplomatic tensions between US President Barack Obama's administration and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the US halted a shipment of air-to-ground missiles to Israel last month during Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
The report depicted a context of poor relations between Obama and Netanyahu and claimed that the decision to halt the weapons transfer was made at a point when the White House and State Department became "increasingly disturbed by what they saw as heavy-handed battlefield tactics that they believed risked a humanitarian catastrophe," in Gaza.
White House Now Scrutinizing Israeli Requests - Adam Entous
White House and State Department officials were caught off guard last month when they learned that the Israeli military had been quietly securing supplies of ammunition from the Pentagon without their approval. Since then the Obama administration has tightened its control on arms transfers to Israel.
After Israel had submitted a request through military channels for a large number of Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, the Pentagon was about to release an initial batch when top officials at the White House instructed the U.S. military to consult with the White House and the State Department before approving any additional requests. White House and State Department officials were worried about public reaction. The Palestinians, in particular, were angry, according to U.S. diplomats.
The White House and State Department have decided to require their approval for even routine munitions requests by Israel, officials say. Each case is now subject to review - slowing the approval process and signaling to Israel that military assistance once taken for granted is now under closer scrutiny.
Moreover, as Egyptian officials shuttle between representatives of Israel and Hamas seeking a long-term deal to end the fighting in Gaza, U.S. officials are bystanders instead of in their historic role as mediators. U.S. officials said Mr. Obama had a particularly combative phone call on Wednesday with Mr. Netanyahu.
(Wall Street Journal)
See also U.S. Clears Missiles Sales to Turkish Army (Hurriyet-Turkey)
See also U.S. Agrees to Send Hellfire Missiles to Iraq (CNN)
US livid with Israel? Hamas can’t believe its luck -David Horovitz
From Hamas's point of view, it must be a source of immense delight to witness the strains, and practical fallout, in the relationship between Washington and Jerusalem...
All it needs to do, Hamas can only conclude, is keep firing at Israel's towns and villages, forcing Israel to respond, confident that this will bring still more criticism down on Israel as well as growing restrictions on Israel's ability to defend itself. Wow, the Hamas leaders must be thinking, the free world is just so dumb.
[The Times of Israel]
US Post Offices refusing mail delivery to Israel
A number of postal branches in the US have told customers that they would not accept mail for delivery to Israel due to the conflict with Gaza, the Anti-Defamation League reported. The ADL recently received complaints that postal branches in Massachusetts, Michigan and New Jersey refused to send mail.
“The postal employees have told these individuals that current USPS policy says that mail to Israel cannot be accepted because of the current crisis,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL national director.
“Only once employees sought clarification from supervisors in Washington did these post offices accept packages and letters to Israel.”
Though reports circulated that mail delivery to Israel was halted for 36 hours while the Federal Aviation Authority banned US airlines from flying to Ben-Gurion Airport, the US Postal Service denied this was the case.
David Partenheimer, a representative of the US Postal service, told The Jerusalem Post via e-mail: “Any post office that might have turned away customers tendering mail addressed to Israel and dispatched by the US Postal Service during this time did so in error, and we apologize to our customers for any inconvenience they experienced as a result.”
The ADL penned a letter to US Postmaster-General Patrick R. Donahoe saying that postal authorities in the branches had misunderstood the temporary ban on delivery to Israel as permanent. The league urged the Postal Service to ensure that all of its employees were aware that mail delivery to Israel had not been suspended.
Bullies in the White House -Laura Fein
Make no mistake, these actions were taken explicitly to punish Israel for what the administration perceives as a lack of cooperation or, perhaps, obedience — something not required of other allies or recipients of aid. An anonymous “senior Obama administration official” described the United States as Israel’s “strongest” friend, but added that the “notion that they [Israel] are playing the United States, or that they’re manipulating us publicly, completely miscalculates their place in the world.”
“Playing us?” “Miscalculates their place?” Sounds like a threat from the bully in my junior high: I’m stronger, so do what I say, or else.
These statements make clear the hostility of the administration to Israel. And the resulting action, a power grab from the Defense Department and a slap in the face of congressional intent, indicates a fundamental change in the nature of the U.S.-Israel relationship, one that should concern us deeply.
[New Jersey Jewish News]
IDF Civilian Casualties Compares Well to America's - Evelyn Gordon
According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2009, of the victims of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq from March 2003 to March 2008 whose age and gender could be determined, 46% were women and 39% were children. By contrast, according to the UN, 12% of all Palestinians killed in Gaza were women and 23% were children, far lower than the percentages killed in U.S. airstrikes in Iraq.
The White House, Pentagon, and State Department have all accused Israel in the harshest terms of doing too little to prevent civilian casualties. Yet Israel's record on this score is better than America's.
Obama Administration Makes War on Israel -John Podhoretz
For five and a half years now, some Israel advocates have been attempting to make the case to others that there is something new and dark in the Obama administration’s perspective on Israel—that there is an animus as pronounced as the one during the administration of the Elder George Bush, which was so self-evident the Jewish vote for Bush in the 1992 reelection was a staggeringly low 11 percent.
This Wall Street Journal article should now leave no illusions. In its transparent hostility the Obama administration is worse than the Bush 41 administration. It’s the worst since Eisenhower. Were it not for Iron Dome, it would be the worst ever. And given the decision to hold up weaponry during wartime, it may yet surpass Eisenhower.
Israel to Reduce Dependence on U.S. Weapons - Amir Rapaport
Things that had been taken for granted in U.S.-Israeli defense relations, like the fact that Israel could always count on a U.S. airlift of ammunition in time of trouble, are no longer certain since the U.S. decision during the Gaza war not to enable the shipping of ammunition to Israel.
About ten days into the war, Israel submitted a request for various types of munitions, including Hellfire missiles, to replenish dwindling inventories. Yet the U.S. completely stopped all connections with Israel's defense procurement delegation. For days, no item could be shipped. The order to stop the processing of all Israeli requests came from a senior echelon - probably the White House. The arms issue was resolved toward the end of the war, and strategic defense relations between the two countries continue, including extensive intelligence cooperation.
Nevertheless, the Israeli defense establishment has decided to reduce the production of weapon systems in the U.S. and will rely more heavily on Israeli-made products. Israel will also intensify the manufacture of Israeli missiles that can substitute for U.S.-made munitions.