BREAKING: Biden vows to withhold congressionally approved military aid to Israel if invasion of Rafah proceeds

May 8, 2024 | Political News

President Joe Biden has said that he will withhold approved shipments of military aid to Israel if Israel invades Rafah in the southern part of Gaza. Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu had already vowed to undertake that offensive.

“I made it clear that if they go into Rafah… I'm not supplying the weapons,” Biden said to CNN in an interview. “Civilians have been killed in Gaza as a consequence of those bombs and other ways in which they go after population centers,” he said.

“I made it clear that if they go into Rafah – they haven’t gone in Rafah yet – if they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities – that deal with that problem,” he continued.

Aid has been approved through bipartisan Congressional bills which were then signed by Biden. Biden has now refused to deliver that aid amid growing dissent to Israel's fight against Palestinian terror group Hamas from his left flank in the Democratic Party.

During recent primaries in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, Democrats who oppose US support of Israel voted “uncommitted” to show their displeasure with Biden. Biden needs these voters to win key states. 

Biden put a hold on shipments of ammunition to Israel only a few days before this pronouncement. The White House did not comment on the matter at the time, though the withholding of aid drew comparisons to Trump's withholding of aid to Ukraine in 2019, for which he was impeached by the US House of Representatives. 

“We’re going to continue to make sure Israel is secure in terms of Iron Dome and their ability to respond to attacks that came out of the Middle East recently,” Biden told CNN. “But it’s, it’s just wrong. We’re not going to – we’re not going to supply the weapons and artillery shells.”

In April, Biden spoke with Netanyahu. In a read out of the call, the White House said that “The President reaffirmed his ironclad commitment to Israel’s security” and promised to deliver more aid to Palestinians in Gaza.

“The President and the Prime Minister also discussed increases in the delivery of humanitarian assistance into Gaza including through preparations to open new northern crossings starting this week. The President stressed the need for this progress to be sustained and enhanced in full coordination with humanitarian organizations. The leaders discussed Rafah and the President reiterated his clear position,” the White House said of the call.