Israel-Hamas War: US Halts Bomb Shipment Over Rafah Concerns

Daily Report May 09,2024

Last week, the U.S. paused shipment of weapons to Israel over signs that Israel was launching a full-scale invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

According to a senior administration official, who spoke anonymously, the shipment included 1,800 2,000-pound (900-kilogram) bombs and 1,700 500-pound (225-kilogram) bombs.

The halt of weapons marks the first time that President Joe Biden has acted on the warning that he gave Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in April that U.S. policy on Gaza would depend on how Israel treated civilians.

It also comes as the Biden administration is due to deliver a first-of-its-kind formal verdict this week.

The verdict centers on whether the air strikes on Gaza and restrictions on the delivery of aid have violated international and U.S. laws designed to spare civilians from the worst horrors of war.

The official also said Washington is mainly focused on the end-use of the 2,000-lb bombs and the impact they could have in dense urban settings, as it is seen in other parts of Gaza.

In April, Biden’s administration began reviewing future transfers of military assistance, as Netanyahu’s government appeared to move closer toward an invasion of Rafah despite months of opposition from the White House.

According to the senior administration official, the decision to pause the shipment was made last week, and no final decision has been made yet on whether to proceed with the shipment at a later date.

The official also added that the U.S. State Department is still reviewing other weapons transfers, including the use of precision bomb kits known as JDAMs.

However, U.S. officials have refused to comment on the halted transfer. Although Biden, on Tuesday, described U.S. support for Israel as “ironclad.”

Without addressing whether there had been a hold-up in arms shipments, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also reaffirmed that Washington’s commitment to Israel’s security was “ironclad.”

On Tuesday, Israeli forces seized the main border crossing between Gaza and Egypt in Rafah, cutting off a vital route for aid into the tiny territory.

Prior to this, the Israeli army had called on 100,000 people in eastern Rafah to evacuate. Meanwhile, ceasefire talks involving Israel, Hamas, the U.S., Qatar and Egypt resumed on Tuesday.

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