President Biden Halts Offensive Weapons Shipment to Israel Amid Gaza Concerns

Jimmy Williams

In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, President Joe Biden stated that the United States would not provide offensive weapons to Israel for an assault on Rafah, a major stronghold of Hamas in Gaza. Biden emphasized concern for the safety of the over 1 million civilians seeking refuge in Rafah.

“We’re committed to Israel’s defense, but we won’t supply weapons for an all-out assault on Rafah,” Biden said.

The decision represents a significant shift in the U.S.-Israel relationship, with Biden’s administration expressing unease over Israel’s military actions in Gaza. Last week, the administration halted a shipment of heavy bombs to Israel, citing concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza.

“The U.S. has historically provided significant military aid to Israel, but we need to ensure that our support does not contribute to civilian casualties,” Biden explained.

“We’re not walking away from Israel’s security. We’re walking away from Israel’s ability to wage war in those areas,” Biden said.

The pause in weapons shipments comes amid growing tension between the Biden administration and the Israeli government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Biden has urged Israel to do more to protect civilian lives in Gaza.

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, expressed disappointment with the decision to halt the weapons shipment, suggesting it was influenced by political pressure.

However, the move has drawn support from some U.S. lawmakers, including Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, who called it a “first step” in holding Israel accountable for its actions in Gaza.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin confirmed the delay in weapons shipments, stating that the U.S. is reviewing its military assistance to Israel in light of recent events.

“We want to ensure that Israel has the right weapons for the task at hand,” Austin said. “Precision weapons are more appropriate for densely populated areas like Gaza.”

The decision to pause weapons shipments reflects the Biden administration’s concern about the humanitarian situation in Gaza. Biden has warned against a full-scale Israeli invasion of Rafah, stressing the need to avoid civilian casualties.

The U.S.-Israel relationship has faced strains in the past, but Biden’s actions signal a new approach to balancing support for Israel’s security with concerns about civilian welfare in Gaza.

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