In the middle of Israel's latest war with Hamas the White House instructed the Pentagon to halt weapons transfers to the IDF without first obtaining express permission for each transaction from "policy makers" in the administration, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
The shift in policy came after the White House learned the Israelis were restocking their weapons supplies through a previously established military-to-military relationship and were on the verge of receiving an order of various munitions including tank shells, and a "large number" of Hellfire missiles which were already located in a U.S. military stockpile in Israel, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The White House demanded the Pentagon cease such arms shipments to the IDF and begin seeking permission for each individual shipment in the future, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The demand came as tensions between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama were at an all time high over the terms of ceasefire negotiations and a number of diplomatic snafus.
Further exacerbating the situation were reports that an Israeli military shell had struck a UN facility in Gaza killing and injuring a number of civilians, which occurred shortly before the Obama administration learned of the military-to-military transfers.
"Instead of being handled as a military-to-military matter, each case is now subject to review—slowing the approval process and signaling to Israel that military assistance once taken for granted is now under closer scrutiny," The Wall Street Journal wrote of the new policy.
The decision to require scrutiny for routine military transactions could represent a serious and potentially dangerous degradation of relations between the US and Israel as weapon supplies previously taken for granted by the IDF could be used bargaining chips to demand concessions from the Israelis as they seek to broker a lasting cease-fire with Hamas.
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