Biden issues stern warning to Israel: No US weapons for attacks on Rafah

President Joe Biden has stated that he will not provide offensive weapons to Israel that could be used in an attack on Rafah, the last major Hamas stronghold in Gaza, out of concern for the well-being of over 1 million civilians seeking refuge there.

In an interview with CNN, Biden emphasized that the U.S. remains committed to Israel’s defense and will supply defensive weapons such as Iron Dome rocket interceptors, but will not provide weapons and artillery shells for an assault on Rafah.

The decision to pause a shipment of heavy bombs to Israel, including 2,000-pound and 500-pound bombs, reflects a growing divergence between the Biden administration and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government regarding military actions in Gaza.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin confirmed the delay in weapons shipment, citing concerns about the potential impact on civilians in densely populated urban areas.

While emphasizing continued support for Israel’s security, Biden stated that certain weapons would not be supplied to enable Israel to engage in warfare in civilian-populated areas like Rafah.

The decision to pause the weapons shipment follows ongoing scrutiny of Israel’s military operations in Gaza and potential violations of international laws protecting civilians during conflicts.

The administration’s move has drawn both criticism and support from various political figures, reflecting the complexity of U.S.-Israel relations amid escalating tensions in the region.

The U.S. is reevaluating its military assistance to Israel in light of recent events, aiming to ensure that the weapons provided align with strategic objectives and minimize civilian casualties.

The decision to withhold specific weapons highlights the delicate balance between supporting an ally’s security needs and upholding humanitarian and legal principles in conflict situations.

As tensions escalate in Gaza, the U.S. faces a challenging task of navigating diplomatic relations with Israel while addressing concerns over military actions that could exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in the region.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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