Wed 15 May 2024 6:39 pm - Jerusalem Time

Biden gives Israel weapons worth a billion dollars while it invades Rafah and displaces the Palestinians

The Biden administration notified Congress on Tuesday that it intends to move forward with an arms package to Israel worth more than $1 billion as Israeli tanks push into the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

The weapons package, according to the Wall Street Journal, includes $700 million in tank ammunition, $500 million in tactical vehicles, and $60 million in mortar shells.

The weapons could take years to be delivered, but the deal shows the United States' long-term commitment to arming Israel despite US President Joe Biden himself warning that he may stop supplying certain types of weapons if Israel launches a major attack on "population centers" in Rafah. It also shows Israel that any tank ammunition it uses in Rafah will be refurbished. Multiple media outlets reported on Tuesday that Israeli tanks entered residential neighborhoods in eastern Rafah.

While the United States says it has stopped one shipment of the 2,000-pound bombs, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Monday that the United States remains committed to Israel and will make sure it gets all of the $17 billion in new military aid recently delivered that it approved. Congress has to. “We are continuing to send military assistance, and we will ensure that Israel receives the full amount provided in the additional annex,” said Sullivan, who is preparing to visit Israel to show full American support. “We have stopped a shipment of 2,000-pound bombs because we believe they should not be dropped on densely populated cities.” We are talking with the Israeli government about this matter.”

Initial reports about the bomb shipment delay said that a shipment of 500-pound bombs had also been held up, but US officials now only mention 2,000-pound bombs.

Sullivan also made clear that the Israeli incursion into Rafah has not yet crossed Biden's red line, if it exists at all. “We continue to believe that it would be a mistake to launch a major military operation in the heart of Rafah that would put large numbers of civilians at risk without achieving clear strategic gains. The President has been clear that he will not provide certain offensive weapons for such an operation if it occurs,” he said "It will happen yet."

Before Israel began its US-approved operation to seize the Rafah border crossing last week, it was estimated that the city was crowded with about 1.4 million civilians. The United Nations said on Tuesday that about 450,000 Palestinians have been displaced from the city so far and warned that there is no safe place for them to go. The Israeli operation also cut off aid supplies through the vital Rafah border crossing, adding to the famine siege imposed on the Strip.


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Biden gives Israel weapons worth a billion dollars while it invades Rafah and displaces the Palestinians