Biden Faces Backlash Over Paused Israel Arms Shipment Amid Gaza War

President Biden pauses arms shipment to Israel, including 1,800 2,000-pound bombs, amid ongoing war in Gaza. The move sparks criticism from Republicans and praise from some Democrats, highlighting divisions on US support for Israel.

Aqsa Younas Rana
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Biden Faces Backlash Over Paused Israel Arms Shipment Amid Gaza War

Biden Faces Backlash Over Paused Israel Arms Shipment Amid Gaza War

President Biden's decision to pause an arms shipment to Israel, including 1,800 2,000-pound bombs and 1,700 500-pound bombs, in response to the ongoing war in Gaza has sparked both criticism and praise from lawmakers. The move comes as Biden warned Israel that if it presses ahead with a full-scale invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, the US will not supply weapons and artillery shells.

Why this matters: This decision has significant implications for the ongoing conflict in Gaza, as it may influence Israel's military strategy and the humanitarian situation on the ground. The US's stance on the issue also has broader implications for its relationships with Middle Eastern countries and its role in international diplomacy.

Republicans have accused Biden of abandoning Israel, with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) expressing strong criticism towards the threat to withhold weapons. Graham stated that he trusts Israel more than Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, citing Austin's previous support for the Afghanistan withdrawal. "Number one, I trust Israel more than I trust Austin. He still said [the] Afghanistan withdrawal was a good idea," Graham said at a press conference.

On the other hand, some Democrats, such as Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have praised Biden's decision. The paused shipment is seen as a significant development, as the ordnance in question causes major devastation and would likely result in a significant death toll in built-up areas.

The Israeli assault on Gaza has killed around 35,000 Palestinians, displaced about 80% of the population, and created a humanitarian crisis. The situation in northern Gaza has been described as a "full-blown famine" by Cindy McCain, head of the World Food Program. Despite the US providing around $17 billion in aid for Israel through a foreign aid package last month, talks in Cairo aimed at a cease-fire have broken up without agreement in recent days.

The politics surrounding the issue are complex, with polling showing a clear plurality of the American public sympathizing more with Israel (32%) than with the Palestinians (15%). However, among adults younger than 30, Democrats, and Black Americans, there is more sympathy for the Palestinians. The State Department's delayed report into Israel's conduct in Gaza found that it was reasonable to assess that Israel had violated international law in Gaza.

As the House of Representatives prepares to vote on the Israel Security Assistance Support Act, which aims to break the Biden administration's holds on congressionally appropriated military aid to Israel, the divisions among Democrats on the issue are likely to be highlighted. White House spokesperson John Kirby has made it clear that"Biden has been clear for several weeks that we do not support a major ground operation in Rafah. "The vote and ongoing developments in the conflict are set to further shape the discourse and policy decisions surrounding US support for Israel.