Israeli Forces Seize Control At Rafah Crossing As Ceasefire Negotiations Falter: US Delays Military Shipments To Israel

Zinger Key Points
  • Israeli military units have taken control of the Rafah crossing, a crucial link between Gaza and Egypt.
  • The U.S. has withheld specific arms shipments to Israel, including precision-guided munitions, signaling discontent with Israel's move.

Israeli forces have taken control of the Rafah crossing, the principal gateway between Gaza and Egypt, on the day after Hamas accepted what was described by Israeli officials as a softened version of their ceasefire terms.

The terms failed to meet the demands of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, prompting Israeli tanks to advance into the southern Gaza Strip early Tuesday.

An Israeli military spokesperson, speaking to The Times of Israel, described the action as a "limited operation" with a clear objective to compel Hamas into accepting a more comprehensive agreement that aligns closer with Israeli security demands.

Rafah Operations Hinder Negotiation Process, Hamas Says: In response to the Israeli military’s advancements, Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan issued a stern warning about the potential collapse of the ceasefire agreement.

Hamdan’s statement conveyed a sense of urgency and a call to action, particularly directed at the U.S. and its role in moderating the conflict: "The ball now is in Netanyahu's court. The ball is also in the court of the U.S. administration… to prove and establish their sincerity by pressuring Netanyahu's government."

US Concerned On Israeli Operation In Rafah: The White House, through national security spokesperson John Kirby, expressed optimism that the remaining disagreements between Israel and Hamas could be bridged to achieve a ceasefire-for-hostages agreement.

The White House has also stated that the crossings in Gaza, which have been closed, need to be reopened as early as Wednesday.

Furthermore, the Biden administration’s decision to delay specific arms shipments to Israel appears to be a tactical move to signal discontent with the current trajectory of Israeli military actions. As reported by Reuters, the delayed shipments, which have been on hold for at least two weeks, include Boeing Co. BA-made Joint Direct Attack Munitions, which transform unguided bombs into precision-guided munitions, and Small Diameter Bombs.

This withholding of military support is a critical lever in U.S.-Israel relations, reflecting broader concerns about the potential implications of ongoing hostilities.

UN Secretary-General's Condemnation: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the Israeli assault on Rafah, describing it as a “strategic mistake” and a “political calamity” that could lead to a “humanitarian nightmare.” Guterres appealed to international influencers to intervene and help avert further escalation and tragedy.

Market Reactions: Israeli stocks rose Tuesday, with the iShares MSCI Israel ETF EIS up 1% shortly before New York market close. Oil prices held broadly flat for the day. The United States Oil Fund USO, which tracks the performance of the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) light crude, inched 0.2% higher.

Read now: US Stocks Eye Fourth Positive Session Despite Hawkish Fed Remarks; Disney, Palantir Tumble; Treasury Yields Fall: What’s Driving Markets Tuesday?

Photo: Shutterstock

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