Senator Tom Cotton
Senator Tom CottonReuters

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) on Thursday sent a letter to US President Joe Biden, criticizing the Biden administration for withholding weapons and ammunition from Israel as it continues to battle Hamas.

In the letter, Cotton requested that the administration provide a complete list of all weapons and ammunition Israel has requested, as well as explanations for the delays.

“I write regarding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s public statement this week that your administration has been withholding weapons and ammunition from Israel and hampering its war effort against Hamas—a serious accusation from a trusted US ally,” wrote Cotton, a reference to Netanyahu’s video from this week, in which he expressed astonishment at moves from the Biden administration to hold up munitions shipments to Israel during the war against Hamas.

“Your administration responded by claiming that aid is flowing normally, with one official asserting, ‘We genuinely do not know what he’s talking about,’” added Cotton, in a reference to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s response to Netanyahu’s video.

“You claim that the only hold or delay is on the 2,000-pound and 500-pound bombs you refused to deliver earlier this year. But you’re deliberately misleading the American people and insulting a key ally,” charged the Senator.

“Your administration is engaged in bureaucratic sleight-of-hand to withhold this crucial aid to Israel during a shooting war. As you are aware, the Arms Export Control Act requires the administration to notify Congress before sending weapons to a foreign country. Your administration has manipulated this requirement by withholding this formal notification to Congress of approved weapons sales, including F-15s, tactical vehicles, 120-mm mortars, 120-mm tank rounds, joint direct attack munitions, and small diameter bombs. Your administration can then claim that the weapons are ‘in process’ while never delivering them,” he wrote to Biden.

“You’re playing politics with the nation’s honor and our ally’s security. Worse still, your administration lacks the honesty to communicate its true policy to the American people, instead preferring to hide behind weasel words and bureaucratic process,” continued Cotton.

He added, “Any delays to military support to Israel blatantly disregard Congress’s bipartisan mandate to supply Israel with all it needs to defeat the Hamas terrorists and other Iranian-backed groups. Our ally is under sustained threat, and we must use all available resources to expedite military aid. Please provide the following information no later than July 1, 2024:”

“What weapons and ammunition are being withheld from Israel? Include any weapons or ammunition delayed more than two weeks beyond their original delivery date.”

“Provide a list of all foreign military and direct commercial sales requested by Israel and the status of each request. Provide explanation for any delays.”

“Provide a list of any weapons or ammunition Israel has requested be expedited, the status of each request, and an explanation for that status.”

“What issues are hampering you from expediting the delivery of weapons and ammunition to Israel? What, if any, legislative relief is required to address those issues?”

“How much of the recent supplemental funding passed by Congress has your administration expended to deliver weapons and ammunition to Israel?”

In response to Netanyahu’s video, the White House cancelled a high-level meeting that Israel’s national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi and Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer were scheduled to hold in Washington on Thursday.

The two ended up holding meetings with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.