Netanyahu-Biden dispute over weapons, Hezbollah threatens


By John

The tension in the relationships between people does not ease Benjamin Netanyahu And Joe Biden. The subject of the latest clash is that of sending American weapons to Israel, a dossier that has been dragging on for weeks, while the conflict with Lebanon makes giant strides amid threats from the Hezbollah leader. The video with which the Israeli prime minister had coldly attacked the US administration, defining as “inconceivable” the delay in sending weapons and ammunition to the Jewish state would have deeply irritated Washington so much so that – reported Haaretz – the United States would have canceled a key meeting with Israel focused on Iran’s nuclear program. An Israeli source – quoted by the newspaper – explained that instead of the meeting, led by the Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer, there will be an appointment between the National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi and his US counterpart Jake Sullivan. The news was then denied by the White House which, through NBC News, announced that the details of the meeting scheduled in Washington have not yet been defined and that therefore “nothing has been cancelled”.

“As we said yesterday, we have no idea what the prime minister is talking about, but this is no reason to reschedule the meeting,” was the icy comment of an American official. Netanyahu then attempted to tone it down by stating on X that American weapons were being shipped to Israel. As a guarantee, the prime minister said that the information was given to him by the US ambassador in Jerusalem Jack Lew. The post wanted to mend the rift in the video with the US. And meeting a bipartisan delegation from the US Congress in the afternoon, Netanyahu limited himself to saying in a milder tone “that he hopes that the weapons issue will be resolved in the near future”.

However, the problem with the USA is not Netanyahu’s only problem: the prime minister is increasingly grappling with the turbulence of his majority. Today – a few hours after the vote in the chamber – he withdrew from the parliamentary agenda the so-called ‘law on rabbis which regulated, among other things, their work. A provision on which the opposition, and even some deputies from the prime minister’s own Likud, raised a barrier. However, if the withdrawal satisfied one party, it sparked protests from the religious parties of the government majority on the other. Shas leader Arieh Deri has openly said that Netanyahu no longer controls the government and that the executive’s days are numbered. Also putting the prime minister on the grill is the announced law reforming compulsory military service which in fact, in the current text, confirms the exclusion of Orthodox (haredim) from the service, even lowering – in a country at war – the age the exemption. Two important ministers of his government, Yoav Gallant for Defense and Nir Barkat for Economy – both of weight in the Likud -, announced to the prime minister their vote against the text of the law as it stands, in full agreement with the opposition by Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid.

For now Netanyahu has only a call for unity. “This is not the time for petty politics, for laws that endanger the coalition fighting for victory over our enemies”, denounced the prime minister. Meanwhile, in Gaza the IDF continues to advance in the Rafah area: according to medical sources, at least nine Palestinians were killed in an Israeli attack against a group of people waiting for humanitarian aid trucks from the Kerem Shalom crossing. And on the northern front, the clash with the Lebanese Hezbollah increasingly appears to lack any diplomatic protection network. Shiite leader Hassan Nasrallah has warned that no part of the Jewish state will be spared in the event of all-out war. The words of the Party of God leader did not fall on deaf ears. Israeli army chief Herzl Halevi warned that the IDF possesses “infinitely more powerful capabilities.” The hint is that the military is aware of what assets Hezbollah used to film the port of Haifa after the group released a video, claiming it used a drone to capture the images. “We are preparing and building solutions – Halevi explained – to address these ‘capabilities’ as well as other capabilities that, over time, will be deployed when necessary.”