After officials in the Obama administration say they were ‘blindsided’ by the shipment of ammunition from the Pentagon to Israel, the administration decided to put a temporary halt on the transfer of a number of hellfire missiles.The move appears to be a ‘tit for tat’ response to the Israeli purchase of ammunition directly from the Pentagon, according to analysts familiar with U.S.-Israel relations.
President Obama recently gave a speech assuring his administration’s full support for the Israeli offensive in Gaza, and authorized an additional $225 million approved by the U.S. Congress for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system – a system whose effectiveness has been called into question by military experts, in recent weeks.
But, the decision on Thursday to delay the shipment of Hellfire missiles indicates that the Obama administration is, for the first time, hesitating in its previously unrestricted, blanket support for Israel.
An unnamed official within the Obama administration told reporters from the Wall Street Journal that the ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza has ‘persuaded them that Mr. Netanyahu and his national security team are both reckless and untrustworthy.’
The Wall Street Journal also quoted unnamed Israeli officials saying that there is a rift between the Obama administration and the government of Binyamin Netanyahu in Israel. The unnamed official was quoted as saying, “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.’
Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. tried to downplay any divisions between the Obama and Netanyahu administration, telling the Wall Street Journal, ‘Israel deeply appreciates the support we have received during the recent conflict in Gaza from both the Obama administration and the Congress for Israel’s right to defend itself and for increased funding of Iron Dome.”
Some analysts claim that Netanyahu is planning to “wait out” the Obama administration’s term in office before engaging in any further ‘peace talks’ with the Palestinians, while continuing to expand settlements in the meantime.