Pentagon on Weapons to Israel: We're Assessing the Process
The Pentagon said on Thursday that the process of supplying weapons to Israel is being “constantly assessed”, AFP reported.
A Pentagon spokesman said, according to the report, that there was an "existing" procedure for handling arm sales to Israel.
"It's a process that we're constantly looking at, constantly assessing," he said.
"Certainly in light of the much increased operational tempo that the Israeli Defense Force is under now, as they defend themselves from Hamas, it warrants -- that process continues to warrant assessment and review," added the spokesman.
The comments follow a report in the Wall Street Journal that U.S. President Barack Obama's administration stopped a shipment of missiles to Israel late last month and tightened weapons shipment procedures to Israel.
The report cited U.S. officials in Obama's administration, who say they discovered Israel had requested a large number of Hellfire missiles directly through military-to-military channels. An initial batch of the missiles was about to be shipped, according to sources in Israel and the U.S. Congress.
At that point, the Pentagon stepped in and put the transfer on hold. Further, top White House officials instructed various U.S. military agencies to consult with the U.S. State Department before approving any additional requests from Israel.
Earlier Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf disputed the article.
While Harf acknowledged that the administration was looking carefully at arms shipments to Israel, she said the process was "by no means unusual."
"Given the crisis in Gaza, it's natural that agencies take additional care to review deliveries," she was quoted as having told reporters.
"The United States has an unshakable commitment to Israel's security. No country has done more to support their security than the United States," she stressed.