Biden: ‘If they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons’

The US president offered his sharpest rebuke of Israel in the war so far


2X564WX President Joe Biden speaks at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's Annual Days of Remembrance ceremony at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, May 7, 2024 in Washington. Statue of Freedom stands behind. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

If Israel goes into Rafah, the United States will stop providing weapons to the Jewish state, US President Joe Biden told CNN, on Wednesday.

Hours after the Pentagon confirmed that the United States had withheld military aid to Israel and the day after Biden spoke at the Days of Remembrance for Holocaust victims at the US Capitol, the president told CNN that Gazans have been killed due to the 2,000-pound bombs, which Washington is withholding from the Jewish state, and “other ways in which they go after population centers.”

“I made it clear that if they go into Rafah—they haven’t gone in Rafah yet—if they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities—that deal with that problem,” Biden said.

The U.S. president claimed that his administration isn’t walking away from Israel’s security and that it would continue 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.”

“But it’s, it’s just wrong. We’re not going to—we’re not going to supply the weapons and artillery shells,” he said.

Israel experts said that Biden is the one who is just wrong.

“Let’s be brutally clear here. Israel cannot defeat Hamas without entering Rafah, where Hamas maintains four fully functioning battalions,” wrote David Friedman, the former U.S. ambassador to Israel. “Biden is siding with Hamas over Israel. There’s no other way to say it.”

“Biden continues to fail on every tough foreign policy call,” Friedman added. “It’s all to gain the votes of self-hating Americans.”

“I’ve said for months what Joe Biden now admits: his de facto position is for a Hamas victory against Israel,” wrote Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).

Multiple Republicans in Congress denounced the president’s statements, including Reps. Mike Collins (R-Ga.), Max Miller (R-Ohio) and Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa).

“Hamas must be destroyed in Gaza and President Biden stands in the way. The president has turned his back on our best ally in the region and it’s only democracy,” wrote Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.). “Our goal should be for Israel to quickly defeat Hamas and get humanitarian aid to the civilians.”

“This is outrageous. By his actions, Joe Biden is undermining the security of Israel and aiding Hamas, a terrorist organization,” wrote Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.). “The president must immediately reverse course and transfer the weapons and munitions to Israel, per legislation passed by Congress.”

“Unacceptable. There should be no wavering in U.S. support for Israel,” wrote Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). “What happened to Biden’s ‘ironclad’ commitment?”

Brian Kemp, the governor of Georgia, wrote that Biden’s “dangerous decision undermines Israel at a pivotal time in their efforts to destroy Hamas and only shows further weakness to our adversaries. This administration is making America and our allies less safe at every turn.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence also slammed the decision, as did former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, who wrote “Biden has lost his mind. If he does this, he is helping Hamas to survive—and win. I’ll take Donald Trump’s mean tweets any day. None of them is as bad as Biden.”

“Hard disagree and deeply disappointing,” wrote Senator John Fetterman (D-Pa.).

“Call it what it is: a U.S. arms embargo against Israel,” stated The Wall Street Journal editorial board. “That’s the astonishing story this week as the Biden Administration confirms it is blocking the delivery of weapons to its main ally in the Middle East.”

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