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Washington (AFP) — Israel secured supplies of ammunition from the Pentagon last month without the approval of the White House or the State Department, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

Since officials there were caught off guard as they tried to restrain Israel’s campaign in Gaza, the administration of President Barack Obama has tightened controls on arms shipments to Israel, the newspaper said, quoting U.S. and Israeli officials.

But the case illustrated that the White House and the State Department have little influence over the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the paper said, quoting officials from both countries.

The Journal said that U.S. officials, rather than play their traditional role as mediators, have now been reduced to bystanders as Israeli forces and Hamas battle it out.

On Wednesday, the paper said, Obama and Netanyahu had a particularly tense phone call.

Netanyahu has “pushed the administration aside” but wants America to give Israel security assurances in exchange for agreeing to a long-term deal with Hamas, the Journal said, quoting US officials.

Israel and militants in Gaza were holding their fire Thursday after a new truce got off to a shaky start, with night-time Palestinian rocket fire followed by Israeli air strikes.

AFP Photo/David Buimovitch

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Dr. Anthony Fauci

Photo by The White House

A Maryland anti-vaxxer is facing charges for threatening National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony Fauci over email-- going as far as to warn the face of America's COVID-19 response that he would be "hunted, captured, tortured and killed," among other things-- according to court documents that were unsealed on Tuesday.

According to the affidavit filed in support of a criminal complaint, Thomas Patrick Connally, Jr. committed two violations-- threatening a federal official and sending interstate communication containing a threat to harm, both of which are felonies.

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