The United States is working to fulfill several specific requests from Israel for military assistance in the wake of the attack by Hamas on Saturday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program on Sunday morning.
Mr. Blinken said that the Israeli government had “asked for some specific additional assistance” as the country gears up for what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned will likely be a prolonged conflict.
Mr. Blinken declined to provide additional details about specific weapons systems that might be provided to Israel in the near future.
White House officials said President Biden told Mr. Netanyahu in a call on Sunday that military assistance is on its way to Israel and more will follow in the days ahead. In the latest call between the two leaders, Mr. Biden “discussed the taking of hostages by Hamas terrorists, including entire families, the elderly, and young children,” according to a readout of the call by the White House.
“The president emphasized that there is no justification whatsoever for terrorism, and all countries must stand united in the face of such brutal atrocities,” according to the White House.
The United States already provides Israel more than $3 billion in military assistance every year, and Mr. Blinken said that much of the equipment from that funding is already “in the pipeline” to be sent to Israel.
There are also six pre-positioned stockpiles of American ammunition and arms in locations throughout Israel, according to military officials, that are designated for use by Israel in case of an emergency or for a military operation in the area by the United States. The six stockpiles include a total of about $2 billion in material, and both countries would have to sign off on their use.
Officials for the National Security Council declined to say whether the use of those stockpiles is under consideration.
In the longer term, American lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said Sunday that they hoped Republicans could resolve their leadership struggle and select a House speaker so that Congress can act on further funding for Israel if needed.
“Given the situation in the Middle East with one of our closest allies in the world, it is critical that we bring this to a close expeditiously,” Representative Mike Lawler, Republican of New York, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program.