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U.S. delays F-15 fighter jet sale to Israel amid arms hold-up - report

NNA - In the wake of accusations from Jerusalem that the Biden administration is delaying weapons shipments to Israel, the Wall Street Journal has reported that the White House has not progressed with the sale of 50 F-15 fighter jets despite Congressional support. 

The $18 billion sale, which received backing after top Democrats lifted their objections last month, is yet to be formally notified to Congress by the State.

This delay has fueled further criticism from Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who posted a video yesterday expressing his astonishment at the hold-up.

In his video, Netanyahu criticized the Biden administration, stating, "It's inconceivable that in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunitions to Israel. Israel, America's closest ally, is fighting for its life, fighting against Iran and our other common enemies."

A State Department official responded to the Wall Street Journal, denying any intentional delay in weapons transfers. “We are looking tactically at the timing. It is not a question of whether,” the official said. “It is a question of when.”

An Israeli "Baz" F-15 fighter jet is seen in the skies over Israel.IDF Spokesperson's Unit

The controversy over the arms delay comes after Democrats Sen. Ben Cardin (Maryland), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Rep. Gregory Meeks (New York), ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, removed their objections to the sale under pressure from the Biden administration almost a month ago.

In what appears to be a reaction to Netanyahu's public remarks, the White House reportedly canceled high-level security talks between American and Israeli officials that were scheduled to take place in Washington, DC.

This development adds another layer of complexity to the already strained relations between the U.S. and Israel. The Israeli government has been vocal about the urgency of receiving military support amid ongoing conflicts and regional threats. 

The delayed sale of the F-15 fighter jets, coupled with the allegations of withholding other munitions, has raised significant concerns in Jerusalem about the reliability of U.S. support in a critical period.--AGENCIES

 

 

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