February 01
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The United States should no longer provide offensive weapons or military aid to Israel's new government to act in Jerusalem and the West Bank, the former U.S. ambassador to Israel and former U.S. State Department negotiator said in an article published in The Washington Post.

Former diplomat Daniel Kurzer and negotiator Aaron David Miller, who worked on the Arab-Israeli peace process, said the US should continue to support Israel's legitimate security needs but should warn against trying to change the status of the West Bank, the Temple Mount and settlement outposts.

With the appointment of Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben-Gvir as National Security Minister and Religious Zionist Party leader Bezalel Smotrich as Finance Minister, Kurzer and Miller expressed their fears that the new government will also increase settler activity, settler violence and relax regulations regarding the use of force by the Israeli security forces. Such actions would lead to the end of the two-state solution.

As such, former US officials believe that President Joe Biden's administration should condition Israel that it will have no dealings with Ben-Gvir, Smotrich or their ministries, and that US support for international forums such as the UN and international courts is limited.

The Biden administration, at the start of coalition talks after Israel's general elections, urged Benjamin Netanyahu to appoint ministers with whom the U.S. could work, Ynet reported.

While U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides assured the day after the vote ended that he looked forward to working with the new government, the U.S. State Department also issued sharp rebukes to Ben-Gvir after he visited a memorial to the late far-right Israeli politician Rabbi Meir Kahane.

Senator Robert Menendez, who has been extremely supportive of Israel throughout his political career, reportedly told Netanyahu that his partnership with the extremist leader could undermine support for Israel in the United States. Menendez told the Jewish Telegraph Agency that he told the former opposition leader this in September, but Netanyahu took the advice badly.

According to the Congressional Research Service, the Biden administration requested $3.3 billion in foreign military funding for Israel in fiscal year 2022. This included funds for the Iron Dome, David's Sling and Arrow II and III. To date, the U.S. has provided $150 billion in bilateral aid to Israel, Jpost recalls.

Israel is also a buyer of U.S. weapons. According to CRS, the U.S. has sold 50 F-35s to Israel under three separate U.S.-funded contracts.

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