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Biden Affirms US Will Not Provide Offensive Weapons for Potential Israeli Assault on Rafah

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden declared that the US would not provide Israel with offensive weaponry in case it decided to assault Rafah, the final significant Hamas bastion in Gaza. Concerns for the safety of the more than a million civilians who are fleeing to Rafah were highlighted by Biden.

Reiterating the US commitment to Israel’s defense, Biden stated in a CNN interview that defensive weapons like Iron Dome rocket interceptors would continue to be supplied. But he was clear that the US would not provide weapons or artillery shells for aggressive objectives if Israel took the lead in Rafah.

This stands in stark contrast to the US’s longstanding practice of giving Israel large amounts of military funding. The decision made by Biden last week to suspend the delivery of heavy bombs to Israel highlights the increasing differences between his administration and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s.

Biden underlined that Israel must put the safety of civilian lives in Gaza at the top of its priority list, even though he noted that Israel’s actions surrounding Rafah had not yet breached his red lines.

There were reports that a sizable number of 500- and 2,000-pound bombs were part of the halted shipment, which raised questions about their possible use in crowded urban areas.

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