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Netanyahu tells US ‘give us the tools and we’ll finish the job’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a state memorial ceremony for the victims of the 1948 Altalena affair, at Nachalat Yitzhak cemetery in Tel Aviv on June 18, 2024.   (Shaul Golan/Pool/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)
By Alisa Odenheimer Bloomberg News

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the U.S. must keep supplying weapons for its war against Hamas, accusing President Joe Biden of withholding arms as the country is “fighting for its life.”

In an English-language video statement released Tuesday, Netanyahu said he told U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken during his visit to Israel last week that he appreciates Washington’s support but that it’s “inconceivable” any weapons or ammunition have been withheld in the past few months.

“During World War II, Churchill told the United States: ‘give us the tools, we’ll do the job,’” Netanyahu said. “And I say, give us the tools and we’ll finish the job a lot faster.’”

The U.S. is increasingly critical of Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip to root out Hamas, the group designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. that killed over 1,200 Israelis and abducted more than 250 on Oct. 7, triggering the ongoing war. More than 37,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.

Biden has withheld one shipment of 2,000-pound bombs to signal his frustration and said last month that he would halt additional shipments of offensive weapons if the country launches a ground invasion of Rafah. Israeli tanks were reported to have reached the center of the town on May 28, in what the military called a limited and precise set of operations.

Netanyahu didn’t specify if more weapons or ammunition had been withheld from the U.S., Israel’s biggest arms supplier.

The White House, State Department and Netanyahu’s office didn’t immediately respond to separate requests for comment.

The Israeli leader added Blinken assured him the administration is working “day and night” to remove any bottlenecks.

Two key Democratic holdouts in the House and Senate signed off on a major arms sale to Israel, including 50 F-15 fighter jets worth more than $18 billion, following pressure from the White House and pro-Israel advocates, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

Netanyahu is scheduled to address the U.S. Congress in late July.


(With assistance from Ethan Bronner and Courtney McBride.)