'I'm Not Supplying The Weapons:' Biden Takes His Strongest Stance On Israel Amid Rafah Invasion


The U.S. has issued a stern warning to Israel, cautioning that its invasion of Rafah could potentially disrupt the supply of weapons, amidst escalating tensions in Gaza.

What Happened: President Joe Biden expressed his strongest warning yet to Israel, urging it to avoid a full-scale attack on Rafah, a haven for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fleeing conflict in other parts of Gaza, Reuters reported on Thursday.

Israeli tanks seized control of the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt earlier this week, disrupting a vital aid route and causing approximately 80,000 people to evacuate the city, according to United Nations reports. Israel insists that the strike on Rafah is necessary to counter the numerous Hamas fighters allegedly located there.

“I made it clear that if they go into Rafah …, I'm not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities – that deal with that problem,” Biden stated.

The U.S., being Israel’s largest weapons supplier, had increased deliveries following the Hamas attacks in October that sparked Israel’s offensive in Gaza. Biden also acknowledged the role of US bombs in the deaths of Palestinian civilians during the seven-month-long offensive.

U.S. officials have confirmed that the delivery of a shipment of 1,800 2,000-pound bombs and 1,700 500-pound bombs to Israel has been paused due to the potential risk to Gaza’s civilian population.

See Also: Trump Says If Supreme Court Decides President Doesn’t Get Immunity Then Biden ‘Will Be Prosecuted For All

Israel’s UN ambassador, Gilad Erdan, voiced concerns on Thursday that the US’s decision to halt some weapons deliveries would significantly hinder Israel’s ability to neutralize Hamas’ power, as reported by Israeli public radio.

Despite the warning, Israel continued its tank and aerial strikes across the Gaza Strip on Thursday. The Israeli military claimed it was securing Zeitoun, a neighborhood in northern Gaza City, leading to the displacement of hundreds of families.

Why It Matters: U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin echoed these concerns, stating that the halted shipment of high-payload munitions to Israel reflects concerns over a potential large-scale military offensive in Rafah, which could have significant humanitarian implications.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) commended President Biden's decision to enforce conditions on U.S. military aid to Israel, calling it a "responsible, secure, and just" move.

Read Next: Russian Troops Enter US Military Base In Niger, Trump’s Views On Presidential Immunity And More: Top Political Updates

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