US Threatens to Stop Weapon Shipments – What Does It Mean?

US President Joe Biden in his CNN interview. (Photo: video grab)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

In an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett, Biden said that “civilians have been killed in Gaza as a consequence of those bombs and other ways in which they go after population centers”.

US President Joe Biden declared on Wednesday, for the first time, that he would stop some weapon shipments to Israel, acknowledging that these weapons have been used to harm civilians in Gaza.

On that same day, the Biden administration delayed submitting a report to Congress, originally due on Wednesday, on whether Israel’s deployment of US-supplied military gear in Gaza breaches US or international humanitarian laws. The administration stated that a written evaluation would be submitted shortly.

Bombs Used to Kill Civilians

In an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett, Biden said that “civilians have been killed in Gaza as a consequence of those bombs and other ways in which they go after population centers”.

Moreover, he noted that if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu initiates a significant military action into the city of Rafah, this halt will be enforced.

“I made it clear that if they go into Rafah – they haven’t gone in Rafah yet – if they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities – that deal with that problem,” Biden reportedly said.

The President’s statement about potentially conditioning US military support based on Israel’s actions represents a pivotal moment in the ongoing seven-month war on Gaza. 

Moreover, “his acknowledgement that American bombs had been used to kill civilians in Gaza was a stark recognition of the United States’ role in the war,” according to CNN.

‘Extraordinary Pressure’

CNN reported that Biden “has come under extraordinary pressure, including from members of his own party, to limit shipments of arms amid a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.”

Biden, who had previously firmly backed Israel’s actions against Gaza factions, signaled a shift in stance with the potential invasion of Rafah, the southern Gaza city currently sheltering over a million Palestinian refugees.

‘Unusual’ – US Postpones Arms Shipment to Israel but Pledges ‘Ironclad Commitment’

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

He reportedly added that while the US would continue supporting Israel’s defense, particularly with the Iron Dome air defense system, it would cease other equipment supplies if a substantial ground invasion of Rafah begins.

Widening Rift

According to CNN, this public connection drawn by Biden between American weapon shipments and Israel’s military actions might deepen tensions between him and Netanyahu, who had a phone discussion on Monday. 

Biden noted that while Israel’s activities in Rafah have not yet breached a critical threshold of entering densely populated zones, they have escalated regional tensions, particularly with Egypt, a relationship Biden values.

“They haven’t gone into the population centers. What they did is right on the border. And it’s causing problems with, right now, in terms of – with Egypt, which I’ve worked very hard to make sure we have a relationship and help,” he said.

Missed Deadline

Reuters news agency reported that four sources confirmed that the Biden administration had notified congressional committees of its inability to meet the deadline to brief the Congress on whether Israel is violating international humanitarian law in Gaza,

The sources reportedly anticipated that the administration will present its findings within a few days. 

US State Department Divided on Israel’s Compliance with Intl. Law – Report

Reuters reported last month that some senior US officials did not find Israel’s assurances on the matter credible. 

Citing a US State Department official, CNN reported on April 28 that “there is not unanimity about whether to accept Israel’s assurances about this as ‘credible and reliable’.”

‘Deep Frustration’

The Washington Post cited an Israeli diplomat as saying that the delay of armaments caused “deep frustration” in Israel.

“Israeli officials argued strenuously against the move (…) complaining that it would jeopardize ongoing negotiations over a temporary cease-fire and hostage-release agreement ‘at a critical moment’, the report added.”

Another cause of controversy, according to the Washington Post, is Austin’s “public confirmation of the shipment holdup”.

This reportedly caused “criticism from some quarters of a Congress deeply divided between support for Israel at all costs, and demands that the administration withhold backing.”

Gaza Genocide

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7.  

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 34,904 Palestinians have been killed, and 78,514 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip. 

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

Warplanes, Artillery, Naval Boats – Scores of Palestinians Killed as Gaza Genocide Continues

The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children. 

 The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

 Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’. 

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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1 Comment

  1. Biden needs to be arrested, right now! He is trying to hand over sovereignty to the WHO. ANY person who would do that is selling out his country. When POTUS does it, that’s High Treason.

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