Biden Threatens To Halt Weapons To Israel ‘If They Go Into Rafah’

(Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz\Wikimedia Commons)

Ilan Hulkower Contributor
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President Joe Biden warned in an interview with CNN Wednesday if Israel went into the populated areas of Rafah he would shut off offensive aid, Politico reported.

President Biden emphasized that Israel had not as of yet gone into Rafah but threatened “if they go into Rafah” he would cut off “the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities — that deal with that problem,” Politico reported.

Biden told CNN he had communicated this demand to the Israeli war cabinet, The Times of Israel reported. Biden said the United States would continue to supply defensive weaponry for the Iron Dome and other such systems, the outlet reported. “We’re not going to supply the weapons and artillery shells [if the Israelis go into Rafah],” the president said, the outlet noted.

Biden acknowledged that American-made bombs had been previously used in the Gaza Strip and had killed civilians, Politico reported. “Civilians have been killed in Gaza as a consequence of those [2,000-pound] bombs and other ways in which they go after population centers,” the president said, the outlet reported.

The Israelis began civilian evacuation operations in eastern Rafah on Monday. Israel has argued such an operation against the city is required to achieve victory over Hamas given this region is where Hamas still has an organized military force. The IDF operation led to the successful capture of the Rafah crossing on the Gaza-Egyptian border, the Associated Press reported.

Biden’s announcement came amid reports that the administration was already delaying delivering military equipment — such as precision munitions — to Israel, Politico reported. (RELATED: Got Played’: Israel Reportedly Suspicious Biden Admin Had Backroom Talks With Mediators Over Ceasefire Deal)

Biden’s remarks were met with consternation by many politicians. “Biden’s dithering on Israel weapons is bad policy and a terrible message to Israel, our allies, and the world,” Republican Utah Sen. Mitt Romney tweeted.

“Hard disagree and deeply disappointing,” Democratic Pennsylvanian Sen. John Fetterman tweeted.

Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson and Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voiced their protest over the reported delays in weapons shipments in a letter to the White House, which the Speaker tweeted out.

The letter observed the threats that Israel faced in the region and argued that “daylight” between Israel and the United States may embolden their enemies.