The Latest | Netanyahu accuses Biden of delaying weapons, but US insists arms are flowing

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is claiming the United States is withholding weapons needed for the war in Gaza

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is claiming the United States is withholding weapons needed for the war in Gaza. In a video released Tuesday, Netanyahu implied the holdup was slowing Israel’s offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

President Joe Biden has delayed delivering certain heavy bombs to Israel since May over concerns about killing civilians in Gaza. However, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday that those 2,000-pound bombs are the only weapons under review. He told reporters that “Everything else is moving as it normally would.”

With the Israeli offensive now in its ninth month, international criticism has grown steadily over U.S. support for Israel's air and ground campaign in Gaza, and the top United Nations court has concluded there is a "plausible risk of genocide" in Gaza — a charge Israel strongly denies. Israel blames civilian deaths on Hamas, saying militants operate among the population.

Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza has killed more than 37,100 people, according to Gaza's Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its count. The war has largely cut off the flow of food, medicine and other supplies to Palestinians who are facing widespread hunger.

Israel launched the war after Hamas' Oct. 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250.


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Follow AP's coverage of the war in Gaza at

Here's the latest:

UN says it’s unable to use new aid route in southern Gaza despite Israeli security assurances

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations hasn’t been able to deliver aid using a new route the Israeli military said it would secure inside southern Gaza, a U.N. spokesperson said, citing fighting and insecurity along the road.

“The lack of any police or rule of law in the area makes it very dangerous to move goods there,” in addition to active combat, U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters Tuesday.

Desperate Palestinians along the route “have to be assured that there’s going to be a regular flow of goods so that there’s not a panic when we get to the area,” he said.

UNRWA, the agency responsible for most of the aid distribution in Gaza, unsuccessfully tried to send a convoy of aid trucks using the route Tuesday but people took goods from most of the trucks along the way, a U.N. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the movement of aid along the new route.

Haq said he had no knowledge of any U.N. aid traveling on the new route since Sunday, when Israel's military announced daytime “tactical pauses” on the roads.

Haq said the United Nations is ready to engage with all parties on improving security conditions to get aid moving. That includes resolving longstanding security issues with Israel such as lengthy delays at checkpoints for aid convoys and workers as well as the need for arrangements with local authorities on the ground to ensure security, he said.


AP writers Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations and Julia Frankel in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

Israel’s military finalizes plans for a war against Hezbollah in Lebanon

JERUSALEM — Israel’s military says it has “approved and validated” operational plans for an offensive in Lebanon as months of fighting with Hezbollah, the Arab world’s most significant paramilitary force, threaten to spiral into a full-blown war.

The military statement did not promise an imminent Israeli offensive in Lebanon — any plans must still be vetted by Israel’s leaders. But it appeared to indicate that after months of tit-for-tat fighting, the army wants to show it's prepared for tougher action. The military did not specify what the plans entailed.

It came as the U.S. tries to broker a diplomatic solution to the cross-border conflict and avert a major escalation. Amos Hochstein, a senior advisor to U.S. President Joe Biden, was meeting with officials in Beirut Tuesday in an attempt to quell tensions. A war between the two heavily-armed foes could be devastating to both countries and incur mass civilian casualties. Hezbollah’s rocket arsenal is believed to be far more extensive than Hamas’.

Israel and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah have exchanged fire across the border almost daily since the Israel-Hamas war broke out in October. Last week, the militant group launched hundreds of drones and rockets at Israel after a Israel killed a senior commander. Israel retaliated with heavy strikes on Hezbollah targets. Israeli strikes have killed more than 400 people in Lebanon, including 70 civilians. On Israel’s side, 16 soldiers and 10 civilians have been killed.

Hezbollah and Israel fought a monthlong war in 2006 that ended in a tense stalemate. Israel flattened large parts of villages, towns and cities in southern Lebanon and entire blocks in Beirut’s southern suburbs.

Thousands of Israelis protest for a second night demanding early elections and an end to Gaza war

JERUSALEM — Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Jerusalem for a second night in a row, calling for early elections and an end to Israel’s eight-month war against Hamas.

The protests come a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dissolved Israel’s war Cabinet, a move that consolidates his influence over the trajectory of the war in Gaza. He took the step after his centrist rival, Benny Gantz, withdrew from the three-member Cabinet.

For months, there have been weekly anti-government protests on the streets of Tel Aviv. However, the crowds have grown in recent days after the dissolution of the war Cabinet and the deaths of eight soldiers in a Gaza explosion, one of the deadliest incidents for the Israeli army in months.

Many Israelis, enraged by the protracted war and failure to bring home dozens of hostages still held in Gaza, accuse Netanyahu of putting his political interests above all else. Netanyahu rejects the criticism and says he remains committed to destroying Hamas. The next election isn’t scheduled until 2026.

Israel’s Netanyahu blames Biden for withholding weapons. US officials say that’s not the whole story

JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday claimed the United States is withholding weapons and implied this was slowing Israel's offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where fighting has exacerbated the already dire humanitarian situation for Palestinians.

“It’s inconceivable that in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunitions to Israel,” Netanyahu said, adding, “Give us the tools and we’ll finish the job a lot faster.”

President Joe Biden has delayed delivering certain heavy bombs to Israel since May over concerns about the killing of civilians in Gaza. However, the administration has gone to lengths to avoid any suggestion that Israeli forces have crossed a red line in the deepening Rafah invasion, which would trigger a more sweeping ban on arms transfers.

Netanyahu also claimed that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a recent visit to Israel, said he was working around the clock to end the delays.

Yet Blinken said Tuesday the only pause in sending weapons to Israel was related to those heavy bombs from May.

“We, as you know, are continuing to review one shipment that President Biden has talked about with regard to 2,000-pound bombs because of our concerns about their use in a densely populated area like Rafah,” Blinken said at a news conference. “That remains under review. But everything else is moving as it normally would.”

Netanyahu didn’t elaborate on what weapons were being held back, and the Israeli military declined to respond to a request for comment. Ophir Falk, a foreign policy adviser to Netanyahu, deferred questions on details to the U.S. government.

Two Democrats in Congress clear the way for $15 billion sale of fighter jets to Israel

WASHINGTON — Two top Democrats in Congress have cleared the way for a $15 billion U.S. sale of F-15s to Israel to move forward, after a delay while one sought answers from the Biden administration on Israel’s current use of U.S. weapons in the war in Gaza.

New York Rep. Gregory Meeks, the ranking Democratic member of the House foreign affairs committee, and Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, the chair of the Senate version of the committee, confirmed Tuesday they had agreed to the deal, for F-15s and related gear that would be delivered by 2029.

Several Democratic lawmakers have urged the U.S. to restrict current sales of the kinds of weapons that Israel is using in attacks on population centers and other areas that cause high civilian casualties. President Joe Biden has delayed some arms transfers over civilian deaths in Gaza, but resisted congressional pressure for a more sweeping ban.

“The aircraft in question will not be delivered until years from now and I remain supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself against the real threats posed by Iran and Hezbollah,” Meeks said Tuesday.

Meeks’ and Cardin’s Republican counterparts on the two committees earlier gave their approval. The sale now moves to a stage in which the administration formally notifies Congress of the planned sale.

UNRWA still unable to deliver aid on Israeli-designated safe route for aid, UN official says

JERUSALEM — A U.N. official said Tuesday the agency responsible for most of the aid distribution in Gaza was still unable to use a route the Israeli military said it would secure to help humanitarian goods flow into the besieged territory.

The official said the agency, known as UNRWA, tried to send a convoy of aid trucks down the route Tuesday after canceling its convoy Monday because of persistent law and order concerns. However, Palestinians took goods from most of the trucks along the way and Tuesday's convoy had to stand down, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss with the media the movement of aid along the newly declared route.

The U.N. official also disputed an Israeli claim that aid groups no longer needed to coordinate their use of the route, saying that coordination was still necessary because the area remains an active combat zone.

International humanitarian officials say Israeli inspections, ongoing fighting and desperate residents taking cargo has paralyzed aid delivery to Gaza’s south. Israel blames the U.N. and other aid agencies for not ramping up their ability to deliver the backlog of aid.

COGAT, the Israeli military body in charge of facilitating aid into the territory, said 62 commercial trucks used the designated corridor on Monday. The commercial trucks are operated separately from U.N.-run aid convoys. COGAT has declined to say who is handling the commercial trucking operations.

The Israeli military announced the protected route earlier this week, with a daily pause in fighting along it during daytime hours. It is meant to relieve a bottleneck of aid that has piled up on the Gaza side of Kerem Shalom, a key goods crossing with Israel. The backlog started weeks ago when Israel invaded the nearby southern city of Rafah, closing the border crossing with Egypt.

According to a map provided by the Israeli military, the intended route heads northeast from the Kerem Shalom crossing, links with a major Gaza thoroughfare to skirt around the center of Rafah before ending at the European Hospital, which is in a mostly agricultural area about 3 miles (5 kilometers) southeast of the war-damaged city Khan Younis.

Israel says Hezbollah fired four projectiles, breaking a 3-day lull

TEL AVIV, Israel — The Israeli military said the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah launched four projectiles toward Israel on Tuesday afternoon, breaking three days of relative calm by the group.

The cross-border fire came while Amos Hochstein, a senior adviser to U.S. President Joe Biden, was meeting with officials in Beirut on Tuesday in an effort to find a diplomatic solution to head off a larger war between Israel and Hezbollah.

The Israeli military said all of the launches were intercepted, although debris from an explosive drone started a brush fire near the border, according to the Israeli Fire and Rescue Services.

Also on Tuesday, state media in Lebanon reported an Israeli drone strike on a car on the highway north of the coastal city of Tyre. It wasn’t immediately clear who was in the car or how many people were killed or injured.

The lull came after intense barrages last week, when Hezbollah launched hundreds of drones and rockets, including more than 200 on a single day, and the Israeli military struck Hezbollah targets in return.

Hezbollah had maintained the relative calm even after the Israeli military on Monday killed a key operative in Hezbollah’s rocket and missile department, Mohammed Ayoub, in a drone attack.

The lull could have been due to the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which began for some on Sunday and ends on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Hezbollah began attacking Israel almost immediately after the Israel-Hamas war erupted on Oct. 7, with near-daily exchanges of fire. Although most of the strikes are confined to an area near the border, tens of thousands of people have been displaced on both sides.

In recent weeks, the exchanges have intensified, with fires breaking out in both Israel and Lebanon. Israeli strikes have killed more than 400 people have been killed in Lebanon, most of them Hezbollah fighters, but at least 70 of the fatalities were civilians. In northern Israel, 16 soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed.

A senior US envoy meets with officials in Lebanon in an urgent effort to head off a larger war

BEIRUT — A senior adviser to U.S. President Joe Biden described the ongoing conflict between the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and Israeli forces on the Lebanon-Israel border as a “very serious situation” and said Tuesday on a visit to Beirut that efforts to find a diplomatic solution to head off a larger war are urgent.

Amos Hochstein met with officials in Lebanon after visiting Israel the day before.

“We’ve seen an escalation over the past few weeks,” Hochstein told reporters in Beirut after meeting with Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who frequently acts as a conduit between Washington and Hezbollah. “What President Biden wants to do is to avoid a further escalation into a greater war.”

Hochstein also called on the Palestinian militant group Hamas to accept a Washington-backed proposal for a cease-fire and hostage exchange deal to end the war in Gaza, which he said could also bring the conflict in Lebanon to an end.

Cross-border attacks by Israel and Hezbollah have been taking place almost daily since the war in Gaza began in October. The attacks escalated dramatically a week ago, after Israel killed a high-ranking Hezbollah commander in a strike on south Lebanon. Hezbollah stepped up its own attacks on northern Israel in response. Some Israeli leaders have threatened all-out war to silence Hezbollah's rocket fire.

The fighting has displaced tens of thousands on each side of the border. Israeli airstrikes on Lebanon have killed over 400 people since October, most of them militants with Hezbollah and allied groups, but the dead also include more than 80 civilians and non-combatants. On the Israeli side, 16 soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed.

Israel's Supreme Court hears arguments over a law allowing its far-right security minister sweeping power over police

TEL AVIV, Israel — Israel’s Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday about a law granting a far-right government minister sweeping power over the police.

The law would allow National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir to intervene in police investigations. Critics say the law is part of Ben-Gvir’s attempt to consolidate more aspects of the police under his authority. They say the law would grant him too much power over who and how police investigate.

The court previously issued an interim order prohibiting Ben-Gvir from intervening in police investigations.

A longtime admirer of the late racist Rabbi Meir Kahane, Ben-Gvir was convicted eight times for offenses that include racism and supporting a Jewish terrorist organization. He was once on the fringes of Israeli politics but now oversees the police and has other key duties in government. As national security minister, he has encouraged police to take a tough line against anti-government protesters and has actively supported officers accused of using excessive force against Palestinians.

On Monday, police faced criticism for a heavy-handed response toward protesters in Jerusalem who called for early elections. A number of protesters were injured, including a volunteer doctor who was hit with a water cannon in the face and may lose her vision, Israeli media reported. Police said four officers were injured in the protest.

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