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Rafah Invasion: Biden threatens to withhold weapons from Israel



Rafah Invasion: Biden threatens to withhold weapons from Israel

Amid escalating tensions in the Gaza Strip, United States President Joe Biden has publicly vowed to withhold weapons from Israel should its forces launch a major invasion of Rafah, a city in southern Gaza.

The announcement marks the first time President Biden has made such a declaration, underscoring the gravity of the situation.

Speaking in an interview with CNN on Wednesday, President Biden emphasized his administration’s stance on the matter, stating, “I made it clear that if they go into Rafah, … I’m not supplying the weapons.”

This statement reflects the ongoing pressure from the U.S. government on Israel to prioritize the protection of civilians in the conflict zone.

President Biden acknowledged the civilian casualties caused by U.S.-supplied weapons during Israel’s offensive against Hamas, which has been ongoing for seven months.

The remarks serve to increase pressure on Israel to exercise restraint and avoid a full-scale assault on Rafah, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have sought refuge amid the intensifying conflict.

Despite President Biden’s warning, there has been no immediate response from Israeli authorities. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has previously indicated that the operation in Rafah would proceed, citing the presence of Hamas fighters in the area as justification.

In recent days, Israel has intensified its military strikes on southern Gaza, particularly targeting Rafah, after moving forces via the Rafah border crossing with Egypt. These actions have raised concerns about the humanitarian situation in the region, with vital aid routes being cut off.

President Biden’s stance comes amidst mounting pressure from within his own party and growing protests on college campuses urging the U.S. to take a more assertive stance against Israeli actions. The President’s support for Israel has become a subject of political debate, particularly as he navigates his re-election campaign.

The United States remains Israel’s largest supplier of weapons, a fact that has drawn criticism from human rights groups and advocates for Palestinian rights.

On Wednesday, U.S. officials confirmed that the delivery of a significant arms shipment, including 2,000-pound and 500-pound bombs, to Israel had been paused due to concerns over civilian casualties in Gaza.