US Accused of Withholding Intelligence on Hamas From Israel

The Biden administration is withholding intelligence from Israel on Hamas leaders and tunnels in Gaza to influence Israel's military operation in Rafah. The US has offered to share sensitive information to avoid an extensive IDF incursion into the densely populated city.

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Muthana Al-Najjar
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US Accused of Withholding Intelligence on Hamas From Israel

US Accused of Withholding Intelligence on Hamas From Israel

The Biden administration has been accused of withholding crucial intelligence from Israel regarding the whereabouts of Hamas leaders and underground tunnels in Gaza, in an attempt to influence Israel's military operation in Rafah, where 1.3 million Palestinians are sheltering. The US has offered to provide Israel with sensitive information to avoid an extensive IDF incursion into the densely populated city.

Why this matters: The withholding of intelligence has significant implications for the conduct of the war in Gaza, and the US's actions could influence the fate of millions of civilians caught in the conflict. The outcome of this diplomatic maneuvering could also impact the future of US-Israel relations and the broader Middle East peace process.

According to a report by The Washington Post, citing four officials, the US proposition involves supplying details on the locations of senior Hamas figures, including Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar, and the terror group's hidden tunnel network. The offer also reportedly includes assistance in establishing shelters for displaced Gazans and aid in building delivery systems for essential supplies like food, water, and medicine.

The Biden administration is working behind the scenes to delay the Israeli operation, concerned that not enough is being done to ensure the safety of civilians. A senior administration official stated, "We have serious concerns about how Israel has prosecuted this campaign, and that could all come to a head in Rafah." The US has already halted certain offensive weapons shipments to Israel over the looming incursion.

Israel maintains that a comprehensive offensive in Rafah is essential to defeat Hamas, which has four of its six remaining active battalions located in the city. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to enter Rafah with extreme force. The IDF began evacuating hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from eastern Rafah to an expanded humanitarian zone at Al-Mawasi last week as part of a limited operation that commenced on May 6.

The war in Gaza erupted on October 7 when Hamas militants launched a brutal attack, killing 1,200 Israelis and seizing 252 hostages. Since then, over 34,900 Palestinians and 1,455 Israelis have been killed, according to Gazan health authorities and the IDF respectively. Aid agencies warn that previously evacuated Gazans have nowhere left to go, as Egypt refuses to open its borders.

The US-Israel intelligence sharing dispute underscores the complex challenges in balancing military objectives with humanitarian concerns in the Gaza conflict. As Israel weighs a major escalation in its campaign against Hamas, the Biden administration is leveraging sensitive information to shape the conduct and scope of the operation. With over a million lives hanging in the balance in Rafah, the outcome of this high-stakes diplomatic maneuvering could determine the future trajectory of the war.

Key Takeaways

  • Biden admin withholds intel on Hamas leaders and tunnels from Israel to influence military operation.
  • US offers to provide intel to avoid extensive IDF incursion into densely populated Rafah.
  • 1.3 million Palestinians sheltering in Rafah, with nowhere to go as Egypt refuses to open borders.
  • US halts certain weapons shipments to Israel over concerns for civilian safety.
  • Outcome of diplomatic maneuvering could impact US-Israel relations and Middle East peace process.