‘It’s Just Wrong’: Biden Says He Will Withhold Weapons If Israel Invades Rafah

President Joe Biden said that the U.S. would stop supplying weapons to Israel if the country proceeds with its siege in Rafah, where the majority of Gaza’s civilian population remains sheltered.

Biden addressed the issue in an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett on Wednesday evening, saying he supported Israel’s security but drew the line at arming the country for an invasion in Rafah.

“It’s just wrong,” Biden said. “We’re not gonna supply the weapons and the artillery shells used.”

The Biden administration confirmed earlier on Wednesday it had paused a shipment of 2,000-pound U.S. bombs that had been authorized for Israel because of ongoing concerns that the bombs would be used in Rafah.

The move is the first time Biden has blocked U.S. arms from Israel, as he has explicitly warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against an offensive into Rafah on multiple occasions, given the high likelihood of excess civilian casualties.

“They’re not going to get our support if, in fact, they go into these population centers,” Biden said later in Wednesday’s interview.

Rafah, a city near the southern border of Gaza, currently houses over one million Palestinians, many of whom have been displaced from other parts of the region due to the ongoing siege by Israel in the wake of Hamas’s attack on Oct. 7, 2023. Despite Hamas agreeing to a ceasefire deal over the weekend, Israel rejected a deal in favor of a long-planned assault on the city.

Over the course of the past seven months, Israel’s military actions in Gaza have killed over 34,000 Palestinians, according to data from the Gaza Ministry of Health. The brutal assault has destroyed widespread infrastructure within the Palestinian territory, leading to concerns of famine in northern Gaza.

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