Home News Biden’s warning about Rafah adds to Netanyahu’s problems

Biden’s warning about Rafah adds to Netanyahu’s problems

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U.S.-made weapons, including heavy bombs, have been critical to Israel’s war since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas and other militant groups. But Biden faces growing pressure at home to rein in the Israeli military. The death toll in Gaza has risen. It’s now over 34,000.

Biden made the comments in an interview with CNN on Wednesday, acknowledging for the first time that U.S. bombs have killed innocent civilians in the conflict.

U.S. concerns have only grown since Israeli forces sent tanks and troops east of Rafah on Monday night, seizing the main crossing between Gaza and Egypt. Israeli forces have not yet entered the city’s built-up areas, but Netanyahu and others have said such operations are necessary to eliminate Hamas camps there.

On Tuesday, U.S. officials said Mr. Biden seized 1,800 2,000-pound bombs and 1,700 500-pound bombs He fears it could fall on Rafa. Officials said the administration is reviewing whether to block future transfers, including the conversion of so-called “dumb bombs” into guidance kits for precision-guided munitions.

In addition to the bombs, Biden said the United States would not provide artillery shells if Israel invaded the Rafah population center.

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, called the Biden administration’s decision “very disappointing” and “frustrating.”

“We have a ruthless enemy here,” he said. “Is it time to limit Israeli weapons?”

Nadav Eyal, a prominent columnist for a centrist Israeli newspaper, said Biden has essentially decided to declare an end to the war. He wrote on the social media platform X that this was “the most serious conflict between the US government and the Israeli government since the first Lebanon War.”

During the conflict that broke out in 1982, the Reagan administration suspended the supply of cluster artillery munitions and other weapons to Israel.

“We’ve reached a boiling point,” Eyal said in a follow-up interview. “Issues that were negotiated behind closed doors are now coming into public view in a very ugly way.”

However, some analysts have downplayed the severity of the crisis, arguing that it is not as serious as past rifts between the United States and Israel. Nagel said the breakdown in relations in 2016 over the Iran nuclear deal was “worse.”

Amid the tense situation, Israeli President Isaac Herzog thanked the United States for its support for Israel and appeared to lash out at National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, who posted “Hama” on X S♥Biden” post.

“Even when there are moments of disagreement and disappointment between friends and allies, there are ways to clarify disputes,” Mr. Herzog said.

Myra Novick and Jonathan Rice Contributed reporting.

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