Joe Biden Rules Out U.S. Weapons for Israel in Rafah Invasion

U.S. navigates delicate balance in Middle East conflict.

by Nouman Rasool
Joe Biden Rules Out U.S. Weapons for Israel in Rafah Invasion
© Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

In a recent interview with CNN's Erin Burnett, President Joe Biden made explicit the U.S. stance on the provision of military aid to Israel amidst the ongoing conflict in Gaza, particularly concerning the city of Rafah. Biden confirmed that the U.S.

has halted shipments of 2,000-pound bombs to Israel over concerns that they could be employed in a significant offensive on Rafah—a densely populated refuge for over a million Palestinians. This decision marks a pronounced stance by the Biden administration in response to reports of civilian casualties in Gaza, where the Hamas-run Ministry of Health has reported over 33,000 deaths.

During the interview, when pressed by Burnett on whether these munitions had been used against civilians, Biden acknowledged the unfortunate reality that civilians had been killed due to these bombings among other military tactics aimed at population centers.

Biden emphasized that while Israel has not yet initiated a major invasion into Rafah, any such action would cross a "red line," prompting the U.S. to withhold specific types of military support historically used in urban combat.

This move is part of a broader strategy to ensure that U.S. supplied arms are not utilized in operations potentially leading to high civilian casualties.

U.S. Security Commitment

Despite the pause in bomb shipments, Biden reassured that the U.S.

remains committed to Israel's security through other means such as the Iron Dome defense system. He stressed the importance of this support in light of recent attacks originating from the Middle East but reiterated his firm stance against supplying heavy artillery and bombs under the current circumstances.

In response, spokesman Daniel Hagari on behalf of the Israeli Defense Forces said, "Israel is responsible for its own national security, but remains committed to the importance of a good dialogue with the U.S.". Remarks like this from Biden just reflect the tightrope the U.S.

is trying to walk between supporting an ally's security needs and reinforcing the problem for humanitarian issues. This nuanced approach also considers regional stability, notably with Egypt, as Biden highlighted ongoing efforts to bolster relations with neighboring countries affected by the conflict.

As the situation develops, the international community watches closely to see how U.S.-Israel relations will adapt, especially if a full-scale incursion into Rafah becomes imminent.

Joe Biden