Biden administration slow-walks F-15 sale to Israel, report says

State Department spokesperson says there is no policy guidance to delay the transfer of 50 planes to Israel, while a former official calls the failure to advance the deal 'highly unusual'

The Biden administration has yet to advance the sale of a fleet of F-15 fighter jets to Israel, even after congressional leaders agreed to allow the major weapons deal to proceed last month, the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, citing U.S. officials.
Valued at approximately $18 billion, the sale of the 50 aircraft is one of the largest transactions between the U.S. and Israel in recent years. The deal was initially approved after two top House Democrats removed their objections over concerns about civilian casualties in the Gaza war.
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ג'ו ביידן, מטס F-15 של חיל האוויר
ג'ו ביידן, מטס F-15 של חיל האוויר
F-15, Joe Biden
(Photo: Abir Sultan / EPA, Brendan Smialowsky / AFP)
“There is no policy guidance to slow down transfers to Israel,” a State Department official told the Journal. However, some within the administration worry that the deal could lead to broader congressional opposition. “We are looking tactically at the timing. It is not a question of whether,” the State Department official said. “It is a question of when.” The White House declined to comment on the matter.
Josh Paul, a State Department official who resigned in October in protest of the Biden administration’s handling of the Gaza war, noted the unusual delay. “The formal notification after Congress has cleared the case usually takes, at most, a week,” Paul said in the report.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted a video statement on social media criticizing the administration for allegedly delaying military aid to Israel during the war. "It's inconceivable that in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunitions from Israel," Netanyahu said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticizing delay in military aid in a social media post
(Video: Prime Minister's Office)
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded, “We generally do not know what he's talking about. We just don't.” She acknowledged that the administration had delayed one arms shipment of 2,000-pound bombs out of concern that they would be used in densely populated areas in Rafah during the IDF offensive.
Following Netanyahu's post, a meeting scheduled for Thursday to discuss critical strategic matters with visiting Israeli officials, including Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, was canceled. Israeli officials told Ynet that they had never seen their U.S. counterparts as outraged as they were after Netanyahu's post.
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