Israel Local Munitions Boost May Signal Rift With U.S. Over Delays During Gaza

[Dave Bender]

Summary ... The recent war in Gaza has resulted in changes within Israel. One of those changes involves the Israel military. Due to the Obama administration's withholding of key weaponry during the Gaza War, Israel seems to finally be doing something it should have done long ago — turning to defense contractors within the nation itself.

One of the lessons Israel's defense establishment is learning from the summer's Operation Protective Edge[1] is to build more military armaments at home, in light of potential boycotts and politically-inspired resupply delays, Israel's NRG News noted Friday [October 17, 2014].

Under a tight veil of secrecy, the Defense Ministry reportedly decided not to allow production of at least one sensitive weapons system on American soil, due to supply line concerns.

"The full truth, revealed here for the first time, is much more severe: apparently, during Operation Protective Edge, the USA had completely stopped all connections with Israel's defense procurement delegation based in the USA. For days, no item whatsoever could be shipped. The expected airlift of US ammunition had never even arrived at its point of departure," according to the report.

The ministry has also increased production of a blue-and-white missile defense system alternative, according to the report, this, despite the fact that US defense aid helps pay for the American-made munitions, instead of the Israeli taxpayer. [Almost all current US aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance, of which only 26.3% can be spent on Israeli-manufactured equipment; the rest must be spent with US military contractors.—ed[2]]

As on previous occasions, such as the Lebanon War in 1982, and the Yom Kippur War in 1973, in which the US held back vital supplies in order to coax Israeli policies, the US reportedly held back shipments of Hellfire missiles, and other arms, in order to stay Israel's hand in it's battle against Hamas rocket crews in Gaza during the 50 days of Operation Protective Edge.

The helicopter-launched Hellfire air-to-ground rocket was instrumental in interdicting hundreds of launches and hitting terrorist leaders with a minimum of damage to non-combatants in the immediate vicinity.

In mid-August, the Obama administration was forced to go on the defensive regarding accusations published in The Wall Street Journal that White House and State Department officials were unaware of the Pentagon practice of transferring missiles to Israel. The newspaper further reported that Hellfire-missile transfers to Israel had been held back for further review.

The article strongly implied that President Barack Obama's relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was at an all-time low as a result of perceptions among US officials that Israel is not doing enough to end its conflict with Hamas in Gaza, culminating in what the WSJ characterized as a "combative" phone call between Obama and Netanyahu on August 13.

"I don't think we know the facts about this incident, but it occurs against a background of considerable tension between the Obama administration and the government of Israel," Ambassador Elliott Abrams, who served as a top national security adviser to President George W. Bush, told "Unfortunately, it seems that tension is growing and will not abate while the Obama team is in power."

"This was very obviously retaliation," said a senior official at a pro-Israel organization in Washington, DC, on condition of anonymity. "They're pissed off about the diplomatic spat over [Secretary of State] John Kerry's failed ceasefire initiative, which dragged in Qatar and Turkey, and extended the Gaza conflict. And so they've gone ahead and they have put these missiles under review."

While the decision itself did not substantially affect Israeli security, it could indicate a major rift in security ties between Israel and the United States: what was previously assumed before Protective Edge — that Israel can always rely on the airlift of ammunition from the US in times of trouble — is no longer the case.

The crisis began ten days after the start of Protective Edge, following claims of high non-combatant fatalities in Gaza. The IDF [Israel Defense Force] acknowledged that about half of those killed were apparently civilians. At that point, the Israeli defense establishment had requested the United States to send different types of munitions, including Hellfire missiles, in order to replenish stocks.

The freeze frustrated the Israeli delegation, although strategic cooperation between Israel and the United States continued on other channels. The Americans even allowed the IDF to use equipment deployed in Israeli warehouses, in accordance with earlier bilateral agreements.

However, the incident has caused Israeli defense officials to reassess an near-automatic reliance on arms airlifts from the United States, as part of any war scenario.

Among the measures being considered are increasing the pre-positioning of American equipment in Israel and boosting local production, such as Israel Aircraft Industries' missiles in place of the Hellfire.

Next week, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and his director-general, Dan Harel, will travel to Washington for meetings with Pentagon officials.

Among the issues presumably to be discussed will be this summer's Hellfire imbroglio.

See Also:


1. Operation Protective Edge was launched by Israel on July 8, 2014. The stated aim of the operation was to stop rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, which increased after an Israeli crackdown on Hamas in Judea and Samaria was launched following the kidnapping and murder of 3 Israeli teenagers by two Hamas members. [return] 2. US Foreign Aid to Israel - 2014 [return]

[ Published: October 17, 2014 ]

Keep current with these articles

Sign up to receive free e-mail alerts.


Need to find additional information?

In Depth Analysis

The Myth of Al Aqsa Mosque

Islam as a religion and Muslims as a group have continued to ignore Jerusalem as a non-entity and continue to bow toward Mecca when they pray. However, the myth that the Temple Mount is actually the place of Mohammed's alleged ascent continues to exist. That myth has become factual history, as the Arab/Muslims claim that the Jews' most holy site, built thousands of years before Christianity or the beginnings of Islam belongs to Islam. And the West continues to believe the myth as the Mullahs babble about their non-existent history, harking back to the Philistines and other tribes long gone.

Hamas Document - 2017

Hamas explains general principles and objectives in 42-article document.

The Real Goal of the 'Palestinian' Intifada

PA/PLO leader Abbas seems intentionally to ignore that he and his PA/PLO are responsible for the violence, as a result of their daily incitement against Israel. A recent poll found that approximately half of 'Palestinians' believe the "Intifada" should lead to the destruction of Israel.

Emet Blog

Three Doors Down in Halamish

This is an account of what happened in Halamish last Friday night, July 21, 2017, as told by a neighbor of the Solomon family, who lives three doors away from where the terror attack took place.

The 'Palestinian' News You Don't See

The tragedy of the pro-'Palestinian' movement is its attachment to a single narrative: "Look at how wretched the lives of the 'Palestinian' people are," they tell us, "It is because of Israeli oppression." Because this narrative must be constantly reinforced, there is little room for real reporting about the failures of the 'Palestinian' leadership and the corruption and infighting that have caused the 'West Bank' [i.e., Judea & Samaria] and Gaza to languish.

The "Spontaneous" Intifada Is Orchestrated by the Palestinian Leadership

The Arab leadership is attempting to portray the current Intifada as a kind of popular, spontaneous struggle that expresses the population's despair over the political situation. In reality, it is an Intifada supported and directed by the Arab leadership of the PA/PLO-Fatah and Hamas.


A Matter of Priority - The Jonathan Pollard Case

US Jewish leaders blew it recently when what was a rare opportunity to ask the US president face-to-face to release Jonathan Pollard, they didn't even consider the matter as being a priority.

Obama Declares War on Israel

Obama needs to wake up. The real enemy is not Netanyahu. The real enemy is Iran, Hizb'Allah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Islamic State, and the establishment of a terrorist state in the midst of Israel.

Could Barak Obama Swing the Upcoming Israeli Election?

It's no state secret that US President Barack Obama is not a huge fan of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His distain for the Jewish leader is well-known throughout the world; he's never tried to hide it. But now that Israel is having new elections in March does it mean Obama could, either directly or indirectly, influence the elections in Israel in order to obtain a defeat for Netanyahu?