Biden’s Bold Declaration: US to Withhold Bombs from Israel Over Rafah Invasion Threat


Biden’s Startling Move: Halting Weapons to Israel Over Rafah Invasion Plan

A Seismic Shift in US-Israel Relations

In a stunning turn of events, US President Joe Biden has declared that the United States will halt the supply of certain weapons to Israel should it proceed with a planned invasion of Rafah in the Gaza Strip. This unprecedented move marks a significant escalation in tensions between the two longtime allies and raises fundamental questions about the future of their relationship.

The Breaking Point: Rafah’s Fate in the Balance

Richard Haass, former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, characterizes Biden’s announcement as “an earthquake,” following escalating tensions between Israel and Hamas. “Rafah was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” according to Haass. The Biden administration expresses skepticism that an invasion of Rafah will secure the release of the hostages held by Hamas.

A Pause in Weapons Transfers

The Pentagon confirmed a halt in the delivery of a significant shipment of bombs to Israel. The Biden administration emphasizes that this decision does not undermine its support for Israel but rather reflects a desire for more precise operations and a reduction in civilian casualties.

Netanyahu’s Defiant Response

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains steadfast in his stance, declaring that Israel will “stand alone” and “fight with [its] fingernails” if US weapons shipments are cut off. Many Israeli lawmakers have also condemned Biden’s announcement, despite the United States being Israel’s primary military supporter.

Symbolic or Strategic?

Analysts differ on the potential impact of the weapons pause. Some believe it will have little practical effect on Israel’s operations in Rafah, while others view it as a symbolic gesture signaling a more critical approach from the US.

A Call for Restraint

US Senator Bernie Sanders has called Biden’s decision a “first step” towards curbing Israel’s indiscriminate killing of Palestinian civilians. Nonprofit organization DAWN commends the suspension of bomb supplies, urging the US to acknowledge Israel’s use of American weapons for such purposes.

A Perilous Juncture

For Israel Policy Forum’s Michael Koplow, the announcement represents “a juncture that is genuinely perilous” for US-Israel relations. Koplow warns that cracks are appearing in the relationship and that the onus for repairing them cannot rest solely with the United States.

The Humanitarian Toll

Israel maintains its focus on targeting Hamas, while deploring civilian casualties. However, Palestinian health authorities report over 34,000 deaths in Gaza due to Israel’s military actions. The conflict was sparked by a Hamas-led terror attack that claimed 1,200 lives and took 250 hostages.

Biden’s bold move marks a significant shift in US-Israel relations. It underscores the mounting tensions and raises questions about the future of their decades-long alliance. The humanitarian consequences, the political fallout, and the lasting impact remain to be seen as this complex and volatile situation unfolds.

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