US has not sent Israel every weapon it asked for, top general says

President Joe Biden's administration faces challenges over military assistance to Israel

Gen Charles Brown says the US 'does not have the capacity' to provide Israel with some of the military equipment it asked for. Reuters
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The top US general said on Thursday that Israel had not received every weapon that it has asked for, in part because President Joe Biden's administration was not willing to provide some of them.

Washington gives $3.8 billion in annual military assistance to Israel, its long-time ally, and the US has been rushing air defences and munitions to the country since the October 7 Hamas attacks.

But some Democrats and Arab-American groups have criticised the Biden administration's steadfast support for Israel, which they say provides it with a sense of impunity.

“Although we've been supporting them with capability, they've not received everything they've asked for,” Gen Charles Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at an event hosted by the Defence Writers Group, according to Reuters.

“Some of that is because they've asked for stuff that we either don't have the capacity to provide or are not willing to provide, not right now.”

US officials said there is not a policy change in the limits of military assistance or delay of weapons to Israel.

A spokesman for Gen Brown later on Thursday said his comments were in reference to "a standard practice before providing military aid to any of our allies and partners".

"We assess US stockpiles and any possible impact on our own readiness to determine our ability to provide the requested aid," Navy Capt Jereal Dorsey told Reuters.

"There is no change in US policy. The United States continues to provide security assistance to our ally Israel as they defend themselves from Hamas."

The Pentagon also stressed Washington's "very long-standing security relationship" earlier on Thursday.

“And certainly, after October 7, we work very hard to provide security assistance to Israel in support of their efforts to defend themselves against attacks from Hamas and future terrorist attacks," Pentagon spokesman Maj Gen Pat Ryder said at a press briefing.

Maj Gen Ryder did not say whether a policy change had been made on the “provision of security systems to include weapons and weapon systems”, but called them “ongoing conversations”.

More than 32,400 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip amid Israel's devastating offensive, the enclave's health authorities said. Israel retaliated after an attack by Hamas in southern Israel, killing about 1,200 people.

EU's Borrell urges Israel's allies to stop sending arms

EU's Borrell urges Israel's allies to stop sending arms

The Biden administration has been challenged by members of Congress about Israel's use of US weapons and the shipments of arms to the country during the war. Mr Biden bypassed Congress in December to transfer weapons to Israel.

He and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have recently warned Israel that US weapons must be used in accordance with international law.

“We've had ongoing assessments of Israel's compliance with international humanitarian law,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told a media briefing this week.

“We have not found them to be in violation, either when it comes to the conduct of the war or the provision of humanitarian assistance. We view those assurances through that ongoing work we have done.”

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin met Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant in Washington this week and the Pentagon said security assistance to Israel was discussed. “It is a constant dialogue,” Gen Brown said.

Updated: March 29, 2024, 7:01 AM