Biden Warns Israel, Threatens to Pause Bomb Shipment

( – The war between Israel and Hamas is still raging more than seven months after the militant group launched its surprise attack on the Jewish state. The United States has largely helped equip Israel with the munitions it needs to continue its counter-assault. However, in the face of uncertainty, and a warning to the Middle Eastern country to work out a ceasefire agreement, President Joe Biden warned he would stop shipments. It seems like he did just that.

On Tuesday, May 7, US officials confirmed that they had stopped a shipment of weapons to Israel citing mounting concerns of its planned military offensive in Rafah. It reportedly contained 3,500 bombs, including 1,800 2,000-pound explosives. A senior administration official said the Jewish state should not carry out the attack because more than 1 million Palestinians were sheltering in the region. The official then explained that they were “especially focused on the end-use of the 2,000-pound bombs and the impact they could have in dense urban settings.”

The move came before the two sides, Israel and Hamas, tried to negotiate a ceasefire that the Jewish state later rejected. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remained steadfast in his insistence that Israel would invade Rafah regardless of whether a temporary pause was granted. However, the halt in shipments left the country scrambling, according to Israeli officials who spoke with Axios.

Netanyahu’s insistence has led to increased tensions between Israel and the US, as the latter has publicly opposed the PM’s planned attack. Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently met with Netanyahu and tried to discourage such action, with little effect. The Israeli leader made it clear the country would “stand alone” if need be.

On Tuesday, May 7, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) seized control of the Rafah border crossing, effectively cutting off an escape route. It originally initiated airstrikes and then moved to a ground offensive.

There still remains to be a final determination as to whether the halted shipment would eventually be sent, or if the US would cut off all military aid, but as of May 11, the US is still sending weapons to Israel.

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