Senator Jim Risch
Senator Jim RischReuters/Allison Bailey/NurPhoto

US Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Tuesday called on the Biden administration to release aid to Israel.

“The Biden Administration continues to try and have it both ways by claiming credit for security assistance to Israel that it has not provided. Meanwhile, those of us in Congress with jurisdiction over weapons sales have done our jobs and approved two separate tranches of arms transfers to Israel for formal notification to Congress, to include ammunition, vehicles to protect Israeli soldiers, and nearly $20B in F-15 aircraft,” Risch said in a statement in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s request that President Joe Biden give Israel what it needs to end the ongoing war with Hamas.

“It is past time the administration move to formally notify the F-15 and ammunition sales and remove its existing hold on precision guided munitions. Micromanagement of Israel’s war on terror must end – let’s get out of the way,” he added.

“The implications of the Biden Administration’s conditional support for our closest ally in the Middle East are not lost on Hezbollah as its attacks from Lebanon increase in intensity and scale. Hamas continues to drive a wedge between the United States and Israel and isolate Israel from the international community. By signaling to terrorists that American support for Israel is conditional, we encourage Hamas to protract the war in Gaza, furthering risk to civilians, and incentivize Hezbollah to continue its attacks on Israel from the North,” said Risch.

“The Biden Administration’s fecklessness now courts a two-front war – the consequences of which would be disastrous for both Israel’s security and America’s standing in the world as a reliable partner,” he concluded.

Risch’s statement came after Netanyahu released a video in which he expressed astonishment at moves from the Biden Administration to hold up munitions shipments to Israel during the war against Hamas.

"When Secretary Blinken was recently here in Israel, we had a candid conversation, I said I deeply appreciated the support the US has given Israel from the beginning of the war," Netanyahu said.

"But I also said something else, I said it's inconceivable that in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunitions to Israel. Israel, America's closest ally, [is] fighting for its life, fighting against Iran and our other common enemies," he added.

"Secretary Blinken assured me that the administration is working day and night to remove these bottlenecks. I certainly hope that's the case. It should be the case,” continued Netanyahu.

Later, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reacted with seeming bewilderment to Netanyahu's statement.

"We genuinely do not know what he is talking about. We just don't," she told reporters. "There was one particular shipment of munitions that was paused."

"We continue to have these constructive discussions with Israelis for the release of that particular shipment," she added. "There are no other pauses, none, no other poses or hold in place. Everything else is moving in due process."