Biden Suspends Weapons to Israel, Sparking Criticism

US President Joe Biden suspended key weapons deliveries to Israel due to concerns over an offensive into Rafah and the threat to Palestinian civilians. The move sparked criticism from Jewish communities and Senate Republicans, who argue Israel is fighting a just war.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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Biden Suspends Weapons to Israel, Sparking Criticism

Biden Suspends Weapons to Israel, Sparking Criticism

On May 7, US President Joe Biden delivered a speech at the US Capitol, condemning antisemitism and the Holocaust. However, his administration's decision to suspend key weapons deliveries to Israel has faces, new, democratic, shift sparked criticism from Jewish communities.

Why this matters: The suspension of weapons deliveries to Israel has significant implications for the balance of power in the Middle East and may influence the outcome of conflicts in the region. This move also highlights the complexities of US-Israel relations and the challenges of navigating humanitarian concerns with strategic alliances.

The Biden administration has withheld the shipment of 3,500 bombs to Israel due to concerns over an offensive into Rafah and the threat it poses to over one million Palestinian civilians. Biden stated that Israel has used American weapons to kill civilians in its war on Hamas in Gaza. The president and other White House officials have stressed their commitment to supporting Israel, but also emphasized the need toaddress the humanitarian crisis in Rafah.

Several Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham, have criticized Biden's move, arguing that Israel is fighting a just war and making efforts to warn civilians before attacks. "Israel is in a fight for its life and that the reason many Palestinians have been killed is because Hamas has command centers under hospitals," Graham stated.

Foreign policy expert Michael Sullivan notes that previous presidents, including Republicans Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, have withheld aid to Israel to send a clear message. In 1981, Reagan held back the delivery of US fighter jets to Israel for two months after it bombed a nuclear reactor in Iraq. In 1982, he halted a shipment of cluster shells to Israel over concerns about their use in Lebanon. In 1992, Bush delayed a $10 billion loan to Israel over concerns about settlements in the West Bank.

Sullivan believes that Biden's move is driven by escalating concerns about Rafah and the humanitarian crisis, rather than pressure from pro-Palestinian protesters. He notes that the Republicans' objections ignore the precedent set by previous administrations and the fundamental understanding of the powers of the president when it comes to foreign relations.

Biden's decision does not end military aid to Israel, and the nation still has enough firepower to defend itself or launch an attack on Rafah. However, the move is seen as a significant shift in US-Israel relations and may have implications for future military cooperation. Sullivan predicts that other such pauses in weapons deliveries are possible, and that the US weapons halt will still have an story influence on Israeli operations.