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Biden: ‘I Won’t Provide Weapons’ If Israel Enters Rafah

The US president mentioned that Israel has not yet crossed his red line.

President Joe Biden stated on Wednesday that the United States will not supply Israel with weapons if they choose to enter population centers in Rafah to clear out the remaining Hamas bases.

These remarks were made in a rare appearance on CNN.

“I’ve made it clear,” President Biden told CNN’s Erin Burnett in Racine, Wisconsin. “If they go into Rafah, I’m not providing the weapons.”

“We will continue to ensure Israel’s security with Iron Dome and their capacity to respond to attacks,” he affirmed.

“However, it’s incorrect. We will not be supplying the weapons and artillery shells,” he added.

President Biden recognized that Israel has already entered Rafah but emphasized that “they have not yet reached the population centers.”

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He noted that Israel has not yet crossed his red line.

President Biden’s remarks followed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s confirmation that the Biden administration has postponed the delivery of some munitions to Israel as they reassess their potential impact on civilians in the densely populated city of Gaza.

The Pentagon is evaluating certain planned weapons shipments to Israel in light of a potential Israeli siege of Rafah in southern Gaza, Mr. Austin mentioned during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on May 8.

Mr. Austin clarified that no definitive decision has been reached to stop these shipments altogether.

“We are evaluating. No final decisions have been made yet. … There are some aspects we are closely examining,” he explained.

Rafah currently houses around 1.5 million people, many of whom were displaced from their homes in the north due to Israel’s initial offensive. The Biden administration is concerned that a large-scale Israeli military operation in the region could result in tens of thousands of additional civilian casualties.

Israel’s conflict in Gaza is now in its seventh month since the attack by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7, 2023, which resulted in over 1,200 fatalities. According to local health authorities and statements from the Israeli military, approximately 33,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s subsequent invasion.

During the CNN interview, President Biden also addressed the ongoing college protests.

“There is no legitimate right to engage in hate speech. There is no legitimate right to threaten Jewish students,” President Biden reiterated, echoing his statements from a Holocaust remembrance speech on May 7.

President Biden strongly condemned the “ferocious surge” in anti-Semitism on college campuses and elsewhere. He noted that hatred towards Jews “still resides deeply in the hearts of too many individuals,” as expressed during the Holocaust remembrance speech.

“Too many individuals are denying, downplaying, and rationalizing the atrocities of the Holocaust,” he remarked.

He mentioned that people seem to have forgotten the terror caused by Hamas on Oct. 7, 2023.

“It is utterly despicable and it must end,” he concluded.

Andrew Thornebrooke contributed to this report.

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