White House Now Scrutinizing Israeli Requests for Ammunition

(Wall Street Journal) 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.

2014-08-14 00:00:00

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