Israeli Response to White House Warning on Arms: Important Meeting Tonight

Tonight, Israel's war cabinet will decide in a "decisive" meeting with the Israeli government's security committee how to continue the fight in Gaza and Lebanon after the White House's decision to partially suspend arms deliveries.

by Sededin Dedovic
Israeli Response to White House Warning on Arms: Important Meeting Tonight
© Amir Levy / Getty Images

The Israeli Cabinet will decide tonight in a "fateful" meeting with the inner circle of the Israeli government responsible for security how to proceed with the fight in Gaza and Lebanon after the White House decision to partially halt arms shipments, reports the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom (Israel Today), citing an unnamed Israeli official.

The decision by the United States to halt the delivery of heavy bombs and Biden's warning not to supply offensive weapons to the country if the military "goes" to Rafah, in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip, as it has been announcing for months and where, as it claims, the last battalions of the Palestinian Islamist Hamas are located, has sparked anger in Israel.

The UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) announced today that around 80,000 people have fled Rafah since the Israeli military intensified operations in the city. "Since the operations of Israeli forces intensified on May 6, around 80,000 people have fled Rafah," UNRWA announced on the X platform, warning that the suffering of these families is unbearable and that nowhere is safe, as reported by Agence France-Presse.

An unnamed Israeli official said that the suspension of arms deliveries from the US could force Israel to modify its operational plans in Gaza, according to the public broadcaster Kan. The official assessed that Israel might be forced to adopt a "munition economy," meaning conserving ammunition to ensure it does not run out.

: Protesters interrupt Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin as he testifie before the Senate Armed Services Committee in the Hart S© Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The United States halted the delivery of a shipment of bombs to Israel last week because the country did not respond to Washington's concerns about the announced offensive on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, said a US official on Tuesday.

"They suspended the delivery of one shipment of weapons last week," said an official from President Joe Biden's administration who wished to remain anonymous. The shipment consisted of 1,800 bombs weighing just over 900 kilograms and 1,700 bombs weighing 226 kilograms, he explained.

"We have not made a final decision on how to proceed with this shipment," he added. Washington has made it clear that it does not support an offensive on Rafah without a credible plan to protect the civilians who have sought refuge there.

Joe Biden reiterated his clear stance to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday. "As Israeli leaders appeared to be approaching a decision on such an operation, we began carefully considering proposals to deliver certain weapons to Israel that could be used in Rafah," explained a senior official.

He added that Washington is "particularly focused" on the use of the heaviest bombs "and the impact they could have in densely populated areas as we have seen in other parts of Gaza."

Israeli soldiers stand as they wait for a meeting with Israeli Minister of Defence Yoav Gallant© Amir Levy / Getty Images

US President Joseph Biden said last night that his country will not supply Israel with offensive weapons that could be used to launch a "full attack" on Rafah, Hamas's last stronghold in Gaza, due to concerns for the lives of over a million civilians who have sought refuge there.

In an interview with CNN, Biden said that the US remains committed to defending Israel, to which it will send missile interceptors like the "Iron Dome" and other defensive weapons, but if Israel "goes" to Rafah, Washington will not supply offensive weapons.

This interview is Biden's strongest public statement on a potential Israeli military operation and follows the decision to pause the delivery of heavy bombs to Israel last week due to concerns that the US ally is nearing an attack on Rafah despite public and private warnings from the US administration.

Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said on Wednesday that his government feels betrayed by the pause in bomb deliveries, as reported by the Associated Press. "It is a very disappointing decision, even frustrating," Erdan said to Israeli TV Channel 12, but added that he does not believe this move signifies a broader halt in US aid to Israel.

In a statement to the Israeli public broadcaster Kan, Erdan said that after Biden's statement that he must choose between American weapons and an offensive on Rafah, any pressure on Israel gives hope to the enemies of the country.

"There are many American Jews who voted for the president and the Democratic Party and are now hesitating," Erdan concluded. He suggested that the decision stems from political pressure on Biden's administration in Congress, due to protests on campuses at universities and the upcoming presidential elections in the US.

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