`Impossible` to bypass White House for US arms: Former Israeli envoy

Last Updated: Thursday, August 14, 2014 - 20:43

Jerusalem: A former Israeli ambassador to the US has trashed as "impossible" the claims that the Jewish state went around the White House`s back and quietly secured supplies of ammunition from the Pentagon to aid its military campaign in Gaza Strip.
"There is a claim in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that Israel went around the back of the US to get a resupply of ammunition from the Pentagon, that it did not get permission from the White House," Michael Oren told news portal Ynet.

"I can only tell you as an ambassador that it is impossible because there is a very specific and deeply embedded procedure for doing that and Israel, in order to get access to preposition military equipment in this country, American equipment, has to go through the administration," the former envoy said.

A news report in WSJ had claimed that the US halted transfer of Hellfire missiles to Israel because it bypassed President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry and turned straight to the Pentagon to secure a USD 3-million lethal munitions, including 120-mm mortar shells and 40-mm illuminating rounds.

Oren stressed that the report has not been confirmed by the US government.

The former Israeli envoy said while there were differences with the US over Israel`s campaign, named Operation Protective Edge, in Gaza specifically over the degree to which Israel has taken steps to minimise Palestinian casualties, and the operation`s end game, but Jerusalem does still need its close ally.

"At the end of the day you need the US both for a diplomatic Iron Dome, (or) if the UN was going to condemn Israel or sanctions Israel," Oren emphasised.

"You need US for purely military terms. The Israeli army uses military equipment, we receive well over 3 billion dollars a year in military aid from the US. All of that is vital to Israel`s security."

Hoping that the relations between the two allies could be in a better place, the former envoy stressed he believes the ties were still not "on a slippery slop", the news portal said.

"There`s also the strategic connection. There`s one democratic country in this area, which is vital to American security, which is scientifically and technologically, militarily strong and very very pro-American," Oren added.

PTI

First Published: Thursday, August 14, 2014 - 20:43

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