Israel Can Tap U.S. Arms Stockpile if Needed

U.S. stores munitions in classified location in Israel to which army can request access - if Obama approves.

Israeli troops near the Gaza border on July 14, 2014.
Israeli troops near the Gaza border on July 14, 2014. Ilan Assayag

If the Israeli army needs more missiles or artillery ammunition in the present conflict with Hamas, it can ask Washington for permission to use munitions from an emergency U.S. stockpile located at a classified site in Israel.

Though the Israel Defense Forces did just that during the Second Lebanon War in 2006 – and was granted permission – a U.S. defense official said Israel has not requested access to the stockpile during the current conflict, ABC News reported Tuesday.

"This program consists of U.S.-owned and U.S.-managed ammunition stockpiles in Israel for use by either U.S. or Israeli forces," the U.S. official said.

He said the weapons can be sold to Israel and transferred to Israeli control "in a matter of hours" in an emergency, but only after U.S. President Barack Obama gives his approval, if he is asked to do so.

“Officially, all of this equipment belongs to the U.S. military," an IDF officer said. "If however, there is a conflict, the IDF can ask for permission to use some of the equipment.”

The War Reserves Stock Allies-Israel program, which is capped at $1.2 billion, has a stockpile of missiles, armored vehicles and artillery ammunition, according to a Congressional Research Service report from April.

The location of the stockpile, along with the types and quantities of ammunition, is classified, ABC News said.