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US officials say Netanyahu hampering efforts to decrease Hezbollah tensions – Axios

In a recent video, the Israeli prime minister accused Washington of withholding weapons and ammunition

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s complaints that the US is not providing sufficient military aid are hampering efforts to de-escalate the standoff with Hezbollah militants in Lebanon, US officials have told the news outlet Axios.

The Israeli leader posted a video on Tuesday accusing Washington of “withholding weapons and ammunitions to Israel” for several months, calling such behavior “inconceivable.”

According to three Biden administration officials who spoke to Axios on the condition of anonymity, the White House is concerned that Netanyahu’s rhetoric is creating a rift between the two allies and eroding Israel’s deterrence power in the region, particularly when it comes to Hezbollah.

“It is hard to fathom how a video like the one Netanyahu released on Tuesday helps with deterrence. There is nothing like telling Hezbollah that the US is withholding weapons from Israel, which is false, to make them feel emboldened,” one senior US official told the outlet.

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File Photo: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) shakes hand with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) in West Jerusalem on February 07, 2024.
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Axios further reported that while US officials have publicly stated that they “do not know what [Netanyahu] is talking about,” privately, Biden’s team was “angry and shocked” at the Israeli prime minister’s “ingratitude,” with some officials even describing him as “unhinged.”

Last week, CBS News reported that Washington was growing “increasingly concerned” over the possibility of the Israel-Hamas war spiraling into a larger Middle East conflict involving Hezbollah and potentially American troops.

The head of the Shia militia, Hassan Nasrallah, warned on Wednesday that Hezbollah is prepared for a full-scale conflict with Israel and could invade its northern territories if the conflict escalates. His statement came after one of the group’s senior commanders, Hajj Sami Taleb Abdullah, was killed in an Israeli strike on southern Lebanon last week.

Nasrallah stressed that if Israel wishes to start a new war, then “there will be no place safe from our missiles and drones” and vowed that such a conflict will “change the face of the region and shape its future,” describing the current confrontation as “the greatest battle since 1948” – the year the State of Israel was founded. 

The US has been calling for restraint from both Israel and Hezbollah. However, the Jewish state’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz this week stressed that his country was “very close” to a decision that would “change the rules of the game against Hezbollah and Lebanon,” and vowed to destroy the Shia militia and hit the country “hard.”

June 20, 2024 at 10:48PM
RT

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