US restocks Israel with ammunition

2014-07-31 07:48
An Israeli soldier carries a shell as troops prepare ammunitions along the border between Israel and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. (Gil Cohen Magen, AFP)

An Israeli soldier carries a shell as troops prepare ammunitions along the border between Israel and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. (Gil Cohen Magen, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - The United States confirmed on Wednesday it had restocked Israel's supplies of ammunition, hours after finally sharpening its tone to condemn an attack on a United Nations school in Gaza.

But while both the White House and the state department condemned the shelling of the UN-run school in the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza in which at least 16 Palestinians were killed, neither would assign blame to staunch US ally Israel.

"Obviously nothing justifies the killing of innocent civilians seeking shelter in a UN facility," deputy state department spokesperson Marie Harf acknowledged, in some of the toughest US comments since the start of the 23-day fighting in the Gaza Strip.

Condemnation

"Innocent Palestinians seeking refuge in these schools should not have shells dropped on them, should not come under attack."

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA said Israeli forces had hit the school, which had been sheltering some 3 300 Gazans.

But despite heated exchanges with reporters, Harf stressed that "we don't know for certain who shelled this school, we need to get all the facts."

National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan also condemned "those responsible for hiding weapons in United Nations facilities in Gaza" and warned of rising fears that thousands of Palestinians who have been told by Israel to leave their homes increasingly had nowhere to go in the blockaded narrow coastal strip.

US officials also warned that patience with "crazy" Israeli criticism of would-be-peacemaker John Kerry had snapped.

New ammunition for Israel

The Pentagon confirmed the Israeli military had requested additional ammunition to restock its dwindling supplies on 20 July, with the US defence department approving the sale just three days later.

"The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to US national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defence capability," Pentagon spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby said.

"This defence sale is consistent with those objectives."

Two of the requested munitions came from a little-known stockpile of ammunition stored by the US military on the ground in Israel for emergency use by the Jewish state. The War Reserve Stockpile Ammunition-Israel is estimated to be worth $1bn.

The decision to provide ammunition to Israel could fuel controversy, coming just as Washington expresses growing concern about the deaths of more than 1 300 Palestinians, most of them civilians, since the Israeli operation began on 8 July.

Kirby said Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel told his Israeli counterpart that the United States was concerned about the deadly consequences of the spiralling conflict, including a "worsening humanitarian situation" in Gaza, and called for a ceasefire and end to hostilities.

He also renewed calls for the disarmament of Gaza's Hamas rulers and "all terrorist groups."

Tense relations

Relations between Israel and its staunch ally the United States have plunged in recent days after Kerry returned from a mission to the Middle East to try to broker a ceasefire between the Israelis and Hamas militants.

Anonymous Israeli officials have hit out at Kerry's truce proposal, calling it "a strategic terrorist attack" and criticising it for being a "Hamas wish-list" including moves to lift a long-standing Israeli blockade of Gaza while failing to address Israel's security concerns, such as Hamas rocket fire and a network of underground tunnels.

And on Tuesday a fabricated transcript of a call between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went viral on social media.

Stressing the "unprecedented" US support for the Jewish state, Harf hit out at Israeli elites' "offensive and absurd" claims that Kerry backs Hamas.

She rubbished the fake transcript as "complete crap", adding "there's clearly people... who are putting out false and defamatory and absurd information".

"I don't know what else you can assume about the intentions except that they're designed to hurt our relationship," she added.

Iron Dome shield

Washington, which has provided billions in military aid to Israel, including funding the Iron Dome shield protecting the country from Hamas rockets, was "very committed" to the security of the Jewish state, which is "why these vicious attacks on the secretary are just crazy", she added.

And US lawmakers are working on a package of additional military support from Washington to commit $225m for the Iron Dome missile defence shield.

More than 100 people died in Israeli strikes across Gaza Wednesday, medics said, including 17 at a crowded marketplace, sending the Palestinian toll from the 23 days of fighting to 1 363.

On the Israeli side, the conflict has cost the lives of 56 Israeli soldiers, and two civilians.

Read more on:    us  |  palestine  |  israel  |  war  |  gaza
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
153 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

BMW drift battle: M235i vs. speedway bike

Watch this insane drift contest with four-times dirt-track World champion Karl Maier riding a speedway bike against a BMW M235i.

 
 

Men24.com

Want to start talking dirty?
Everyday struggles of naturally skinny guys
And this year's Miss Bumbum title goes to...
How to maintain your mo, bro

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Enjoy the view because as from tomorrow you are going to need to come back down to earth and join the party. In the meantime use...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.