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Israel’s Netanyahu bemoans ‘personal attacks’ after White House responds to his claims about weapons delays

JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described White House statements regarding his claims that the U.S. is holding up weapons deliveries for Israel as “personal attacks,” but said he would endure these attacks provided Israel gets the munitions.

Earlier Thursday, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. is “perplexed” by Netanyahu’s claims earlier this week that the U.S. was holding up the delivery of weapons and creating bottlenecks. Kirby said those claims were incorrect.

Netanyahu, in a statement released by his office, said, “I am ready to suffer personal attacks as long as Israel receives from the United States the ammunition that it needs in the war for its existence.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday the only pause in weapons deliveries was related to certain heavy bombs since May.

President Joe Biden delayed sending the 2,000-pound bombs over concerns about Israel’s killing of civilians in Gaza. Yet the administration has gone to lengths to avoid any suggestion that Israeli forces have crossed a red line in the deepening operation in the southern city of Rafah, which would trigger a more sweeping ban on arms transfers.

Meanwhile, Israel remains opposed to allowing International Committee of the Red Cross access to detention facilities accused of harshly treating Palestinians from Gaza and is working on creating an internal inspection system, state lawyers said Wednesday.

The Red Cross had access to Israeli detention facilities holding Palestinians until the Hamas-led terrorist attack on Oct. 7, when Israel sealed them off from external observation.

Government lawyers wrote that Israeli lawmakers are examining a proposal to form an internal body that would visit the detention facilities, hear prisoners’ complaints and communicate the information to Israeli authorities.

The body is “expected to fulfill the purpose that the Red Cross has fulfilled until now,” the lawyers wrote. They were responding to a coalition of rights groups asking Israel’s highest court to grant the Red Cross access to the detention facilities.

Israel launched the war after the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attack, in which terrorists stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250.

Israeli ground offensives and bombardments have killed more than 37,100 people, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its count.

Since Oct. 7, Israel has taken at least 4,000 Palestinians from Gaza into custody in Israel, interrogating them for potential ties to the terrorist group. Over 1,500 have been released, according to state figures.

Hamas has rejected Red Cross appeals to visit some 120 hostages it is believed to be holding. Israel has already pronounced 43 of the hostages dead.

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