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Biden Admin Confirms and Defends ‘Pause’ in Military Assistance to Israel


The White House on Tuesday night confirmed reports that it had suspended a shipment to the Israeli military of 500 and 2,000 lbs. bombs over fears that their use would cause civilian casualties during IDF operations in Rafah.

The pause was the first time that the United States has restricted a weapons delivery to Israel since the start of the October war in Gaza.

The action comes as Politico reported in March that the Biden administration intended to condition military assistance to the Jewish state over deployment policies that it disagreed with.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, along with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Charles Brown, defended the position in a Wednesday Senate hearing.

Amid interruption by pro-Hamas supporters, the secretary admitted that Pentagon officials “did pause as we re-evaluated some of the security assistance that we’re providing,” and they are "currently reviewing some near-term security assistance shipments in the context of unfolding events in Rafah."

Austin’s comments drew notable criticism from Republican Senators Shelly Capito, Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham, and Jerry Moran.

Later in the day, President Biden reaffirmed his objections to any offensive in the southern Gazan city, telling Erin Burnett in an interview with CNN, “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.”

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has maintained that an incursion into the area is necessary to eliminate the remaining Hamas terrorists who have been embedded in the Palestinian municipality for several months.

On Tuesday, members of the IDF’s 162nd Division and Givati Brigade took control of a border crossing and a major roadway in the city. 100,000 non-combatants were evacuated to demilitarized locations before the maneuvers began.

Related Story: Israeli Military Takes Control of Rafah Border Crossing

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