Israel-Gaza war: Should Israel invade Rafah, Biden will stop supplying some armaments

President Joe Biden has issued a warning to Israel, stating that if it conducts a significant ground assault in the Gaza city of Rafah, the US will cease providing some weapons.

In an interview with CNN, he declared, “If they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah.”

“I will continue to make sure Israel is secure,” he continued.

Israel seems ready to launch a massive assault of Rafah in defiance of the US’s adamant and outspoken resistance.

The only significant bastion of Hamas in the region is the crowded southern section of Gaza. US authorities have issued a warning that there may be many civilian casualties from an operation in the city, where the population has increased due to the influx of refugees from other parts of Gaza.

The interview with Mr. Biden aired on Wednesday. “We’re not going to supply the weapons and artillery shells,” he stated.

The UN envoy for Israel expressed the nation’s “great disappointment” with Mr. Biden’s intervention.

“If Israel is restricted from entering an area as important and central as Rafah where there are thousands of terrorists, hostages and leaders of Hamas, how exactly are we supposed to achieve our goals?” he stated on a public radio station.

Speaking to CNN, Mr. Biden said that the US did not classify the current state of affairs in Rafah as a ground operation. “They have not entered the densely populated areas. He stated, “What they did was exactly on the border.

“But I’ve made it clear to [Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu] and the war cabinet, they’re not going to get our support, if in fact they go in these population centres.”

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Mr. Biden admitted that Israel had killed people in Gaza using US munitions.

The US president said “not yet” in response to a question about whether Israel had crossed a “red line”.

This is the first time the president has indicated that the US could halt arms shipments to Israel, and his remarks amount to his most severe warning to date on a possible ground invasion of Rafah.

A delivery of thousands of bombs to Israel has already been postponed by the US, and it has stated that it is examining further shipments.

During a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin acknowledged that the bomb shipment—which included some of the most lethal weapons in Western military arsenals—had been delayed.

The US’s decision to withhold the weapons is unlikely to have an immediate effect because they are connected to a future delivery. However, subsequent strikes will most likely be impacted rather quickly, considering the pace at which Israel is hitting.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military has stated that disputes between the two nations will be settled “behind closed doors”.

As the number of civilian casualties in Gaza rises and the humanitarian situation deteriorates, President Biden is coming under increasing internal pressure to curtail Israeli activities, particularly from certain Democrats and segments of the US public.

Opinion polls show that many young voters and Arab-Americans in important areas like Michigan are critical of what they perceive to be the president’s support for the Israeli war effort as the November presidential election approaches.

US sources verified that since Israeli tanks entered southern Rafah and seized control of the Palestinian side of the border with Egypt this week, no fresh humanitarian goods have been sent to Gaza through the two southern crossings.

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Since Israel and Hamas’ conflict began last October, Rafah has served as both a vital entrance route for humanitarian supplies and the only point of escape for those who are able to escape.

The Israeli military announced that it was restoring the neighbouring Kerem Shalom border, which had been closed for four days due to rocket fire from Hamas, but the bridge remained closed on Wednesday morning.

Tens of thousands of civilians were told to start leaving Rafah city’s eastern areas on Monday by the Israeli military, which was preparing for a “limited” operation to destroy infrastructure and remove Hamas fighters.

A cease-fire is still being worked for, along with the release of Palestinian and Israeli captives. Israel and Hamas teams have started negotiations through mediators in Cairo.

The US has been assessing its arms exports to Israel since April, according to a US official, who stated that discussions with Israel were “ongoing and have not fully addressed our concerns”.

Following the group’s invasion on southern Israel on October 7, during which, according to Israeli counts, over 1,200 people were murdered and 252 others were taken captive, Israel initiated a campaign to destroy Hamas.

Since then, more than 34,780 people have died in Gaza, as reported by the health ministry operated by Hamas in the region.

In accordance with an agreement reached in November, Hamas released 240 Palestinian inmates from Israeli jails and 105 hostages in exchange for a week-long ceasefire. According to Israel, 128 captives are missing, 36 of whom are thought to be dead.

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