Sun. May 26th, 2024

Joe Biden issues stern warning to Israel on Rafah as US bomb shipments suspended

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell May22,2024
President Joe Biden on Thursday publicly warned Israel for the first time that the US would stop supplying it weapons if Israeli forces make a major invasion of Rafah, a city in southern Gaza.
In an interview with CNN, Biden deplored the fact that civilians had been killed by the dropping of US bombs on the Palestinian territory.
“If they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used … to deal with the cities,” Biden said.

“We’re not gonna supply the weapons and the artillery shells that have been used.”

He said the US would continue to provide defensive weapons to Israel, including for its Iron Dome air defence system.
“We’re going to continue to make sure Israel is secure in terms of Iron Dome and their ability to respond to attacks that came out of the Middle East recently,” he said.

Biden’s warning came after the US last week halted a shipment of huge American bombs to Israel as it appeared ready to proceed with a major attack on Rafah, which is packed with Palestinians displaced by the war.

Which types of bombs were blocked?

Washington paused one shipment consisting of 1,800 2,000-pound (907kg) bombs and 1,700 500-pound (227kg) bombs, according to US officials.
Four sources said the shipments, which have been delayed for at least two weeks, involved Boeing-made Joint Direct Attack Munitions, which convert dumb bombs into precision-guided ones, as well as Small Diameter Bombs (SDB-1). The SDB-1 is a precision-guided glide bomb that packs 250 pounds of explosive.

They were part of an earlier approved shipment to Israel, not the recent $95 billion supplemental aid package the US Congress passed in April.

Why is the US blocking the bomb shipment?

The US is reviewing “near term security assistance,” defence secretary Lloyd Austin told a Senate hearing “in the context of unfolding events in Rafah.”

“We’ve been very clear … from the very beginning that Israel shouldn’t launch a major attack into Rafah without accounting for and protecting the civilians that are in that battlespace,” Austin said.

We’ve been very clear from the very beginning that Israel shouldn’t launch a major attack into Rafah without accounting for and protecting the civilians that are in that battlespace.

US defence secretary Lloyd Austin

, many previously displaced from other parts of Gaza following Israel’s orders to evacuate from there.
The US decision was taken due to concerns about the “end-use of the 2,000-pound bombs and the impact they could have in dense urban settings as we have seen in other parts of Gaza,” said a US official speaking on condition of anonymity.

The US had carefully reviewed the delivery of weapons that might be used in Rafah, the official said.

When was the decision made?

The decision was made last week, US officials said. Biden was directly involved.

What kind of damage can 2,000-pound bombs cause?

Large bombs like 2,000-pound bombs have an impact over a wide area. According to the United Nations, “The pressure from the explosion can rupture lungs, burst sinus cavities and tear off limbs hundreds of meters from the blast site.”

The International Commission for the Red Cross in a 2022 reports the use of wide area explosives in a densely populated area “is very likely to have indiscriminate effects or violate the principle of proportionality.”

What was Israel’s response?

Israel denies targeting Palestinian civilians, saying its sole interest is to annihilate Hamas and that it takes all precautions to avoid unnecessary death.

After the news broke, a senior Israeli official declined to confirm the report. “If we have to fight with our fingernails, then we’ll do what we have to do,” the source said.

If we have to fight with our fingernails, then we’ll do what we have to do.

Israeli official

A military spokesperson said any disagreements were resolved in private.

Were these bombs legal for Israel to use in Gaza?

That is a matter of heated debate.

International humanitarian law does not explicitly ban aerial bombing in densely populated areas, however civilians cannot be targets and a specific military aim must be proportionate to possible civilian casualties or damage.

What does the International Criminal Court say?

The statute of the International Criminal Court, which is investigating the Israel-Gaza war, lists as a war crime intentionally launching an attack when it is known that civilian death or damage will be “clearly excessive” compared to any direct military advantage.
Israel has bombarded Gaza since Hamas’ 7 October attack in which more than 1,100 people were killed and over 200 hostages taken, according to the Israeli government.
More than 34,700 people, mostly women and children, have been killed in Gaza since 7 October, according to the health ministry in Gaza.

The 7 October attack was a significant escalation in the long-standing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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2 thoughts on “Joe Biden issues stern warning to Israel on Rafah as US bomb shipments suspended”
  1. As an American, I fully support President Biden’s decision to suspend bomb shipments to Israel if they make a major invasion of Rafah. It’s crucial to prioritize the protection of civilians in any conflict situation.

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