Israel disappointed by Biden’s warning on arms supplies

Rafah, Gaza, Israeli, Israel

On May 9th, two influential Israeli figures rebuked President Joe Biden’s warning to cease certain arms supplies should Israel enter Rafah, Gaza. This underscores strained ties between the two nations, exposing tensions in their enduring bilateral relationship.

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, expressed deep disappointment at President Biden’s statement. He remarked, “This is a difficult and very disappointing statement to hear from a president to whom we have been grateful since the beginning of the war,” marking Israel’s initial response to Biden’s warning on public radio.

Speaking to Kan public radio, Erdan also says: “Of course any pressure on Israel is interpreted by our enemies as something that gives them hope. There are many Jewish Americans who voted for the president and for the Democratic Party, and now they are hesitant.”

Israel has defied international objections by sending in tanks and conducting “targeted raids” in the eastern areas of Rafah.

It says Rafah is home to Hamas’s last remaining battalions but the city on the border with Egypt is also crammed with displaced Palestinian civilians.

Biden issued his strongest warning to Israel since the conflict’s onset, stating, “If they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used… to deal with the cities,” in an interview with CNN. He condemned civilian casualties in Gaza caused by bombings, emphasizing, “It’s just wrong.”

Erdan warned that Biden’s remarks could embolden Israel’s adversaries like Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah and said “something that gives them hope to succeed”.

“If Israel is restricted from entering an area as important and central as Rafah where there are thousands of terrorists, hostages and leaders of Hamas, how exactly are we supposed to achieve our goals?” he said.

“This is not a defensive weapon. This is about certain offensive bombs. In the end the State of Israel will have to do what it thinks needs to be done for the security of its citizens.”

Smotrich, Israel’s far-right Finance Minister, affirmed the government’s commitment to its Gaza objectives despite US opposition. “We will achieve complete victory in this war despite President Biden’s pushback and arms embargo,” he asserted. Emphasizing the necessity to eradicate Hamas and secure the return of hostages, Smotrich advocated for the swift conquest of Rafah.

AFP reported heavy shelling in Rafah early Thursday, and the Israeli military later said it was also striking “Hamas positions” further north in the centre of the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces seized Rafah’s border crossing into Egypt on Tuesday, May 8th. The crossing has been a crucial entry point for aid into besieged Gaza.


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