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Israel-Gaza Conflict: U.S. Blocks Ammo Shipment, Warns Against Rafah Offensive

Israel-Gaza Conflict

Worried about a large-scale Israeli attack on Rafah, the United States blocks a shipment of ammunition to Israel

The United States recently blocked a shipment of ammunition to Israel over concerns that it could be used in a major attack on Rafah in southern Gaza, marking the first suspension of military aid from the Biden administration since the conflict between Israel and Hamas began. President Biden warned Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu against launching a massive offensive in Rafah, citing potential humanitarian consequences.

Despite pressure to halt aid, U.S. officials maintain support for Israel, while Netanyahu vows to defend the country from enemies and rely on its own strength if necessary. The Pentagon has completed construction of an aid terminal in Gaza, with plans to install it once weather conditions improve.

Key Concepts

  • The United States blocked a shipment of ammunition to Israel due to concerns about a potential major attack on Rafah in southern Gaza.
  • This marks the first time the Biden administration has suspended military aid to Israel since the conflict with Hamas began last October.
  • President Biden warned Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu against launching a massive attack on Rafah.
  • The White House criticized Israel for cutting off a major humanitarian aid channel and closing the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt.
  • The Pentagon has completed construction of an aid terminal in Gaza, to be installed once weather conditions improve.
  • Hamas launched a terrorist attack on southern Israel last year, leading to a deadly counterattack by Israel.
  • President Biden is facing pressure to halt U.S. military aid to Israel, despite officials stating that support remains strong.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu vowed to defend Israel from enemies and rely on its own strength if necessary.

The United States last week blocked a shipment of ammunition to Israel because of concerns the weapons could be used in a major Israeli attack on Rafah in southern Gaza, a senior U.S. official said. This is believed to be the first time the Biden administration has decided to suspend military aid to Israel since Israel and Hamas entered armed conflict last October.

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The U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the U.S. decided to suspend shipments of a batch of 2,000-pound and 500-pound bombs to Israel after Israel failed to fully assuage U.S. concerns about a large-scale attack on Rafah.

Israeli officials have repeatedly said an offensive in Rafah is necessary to achieve the goal of defeating Hamas, while the United States, the United Nations, and others have warned that an offensive in an area crowded with Palestinian civilians could cause a humanitarian catastrophe.

As Israel looks set to take major military action against Rafah soon, US President Joe Biden issued an urgent warning to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday (May 6). Netanyahu, do not launch a massive attack on Rafah.

On Tuesday, the White House called Israel’s move to cut off a major humanitarian aid channel “unacceptable” after Israeli forces took control of and closed the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

On the same day, the Pentagon said the U.S. military had completed construction of an aid terminal in Gaza and was waiting for weather conditions to improve to install the two-part facility.

Hamas launched a terrorist attack on southern Israel on October 7 last year, killing 1,200 people and taking about 250 hostages. Israel’s subsequent counterattack on Gaza may have killed more than 34,700 Palestinians, about two-thirds of whom were women. and children.

President Biden is increasingly facing domestic and international pressure to halt U.S. military aid to Israel. Despite Washington’s recent decision to delay munitions shipments to Israel and public expressions of unease about Israel’s military actions, U.S. officials insist that U.S. support for Israel remains “solid as steel.”

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at a commemoration event at Yad Vashem on Sunday (May 5), vowing to defend Israel from “enemies bent on our destruction” and, if necessary, Israel will rely on its own strength to fight the enemy alone.

“Today we once again face an enemy bent on our destruction,” he said. “I say to world leaders that no amount of pressure, no decision in any international forum, will stop Israel from defending itself.”

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