Biden Withholds Shipment Of Boeing-Made Precision Bombs From Israel Over Rafah Offensive

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, May 07, 2024 - 04:12 PM

Update(1212ET): We noted earlier that Israel's Rafah ground offensive currently in progress constitutes a glaring instance of Netanyahu's willingness to blow past Biden's 'red line' which was repeatedly verbalized in the last weeks and months.

It now appears that Biden is ready to belatedly get 'tough' (or at least keep up the appearance of getting tough on Israel for the sake of US Progressives who have been revoking their support in droves). The below major headline just hit via Politico:

Biden administration is holding shipments of Boeing manufactured precision bombs to send a political message to Israel, according to Politico.

This follows on the heels of Axios' Sunday reporting which said an initial ammo shipment has been held up. Israeli officials are said to be seething.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu has released a fresh statement on the Rafah offensive and negotiations in Cairo...

Last night I ordered, with the approval of the War Cabinet, to operate in Rafah. Within hours our forces raised the Israeli flags at the Rafah crossing and took down the Hamas flags.

The entry into Rafah serves two main war goals: the return of our abductees and the elimination of Hamas. We have already proven in the previous release of the abductees - military pressure on Hamas is a necessary condition for the return of our abductees.

Hamas' proposal yesterday was intended to torpedo the entry of our forces into Rafah. It did not happen. As the War Cabinet unanimously determined, the Hamas proposal is very far from Israel's necessary requirements.

Israel will not allow Hamas to restore its evil rule in the Gaza Strip, Israel will not allow it to restore its military capabilities to continue striving for our destruction. Israel cannot accept a proposal that endangers the security of our citizens and the future of our country.

Therefore, I instructed the delegation that went to Cairo: continue to stand firm on the conditions necessary for the release of our abductees, continue to stand firm on the essential requirements for guaranteeing Israel's security.

Israel is now threatening to go 'deeper' into Rafah and initiate the next military stage of the operation if Hamas rejects current Israeli offers on the table.

Interestingly, all of this comes on the occasion of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s annual "Days of Remembrance ceremony" which Biden spoke at.

During the remarks he sought to make an Oct.7 connection: "Here we are, not 75 years later, but just seven and a half months later-- people are already forgetting that Hamas unleashed this terror."

He also said "there's no place for antisemitism on any campus in the US" - in reference to ongoing protests and clashes with police at various places, especially at east coast and west coast schools.

And below are some remarks by Netanyahu on the same day:

House Speaker Johnson was perhaps the most dramatic in his comparisons:

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Overnight it's been confirmed that Israeli ground forces have begun moving into Rafah, with IDF tanks having seized Gaza's vital Rafah border crossing in the last hours. The IDF plans to monitor all aid going into the Gaza Strip, but international aid organizations warn this could be a death sentence for a population already teetering on the brink of full-blown famine.

In a Monday phone call President Biden had warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against launching a ground attack on Rafah, but the Israeli leader has once again brushed off US 'red lines' as well as the warnings of other international allies like France.

Israeli tanks entering the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. Photo: Israeli Army via AFP

In a first reaction since tanks entered Rafah, the US State Department has said: "We continue to believe that a hostage deal is in the best interest of the Israeli and the Palestinian people; it would bring an immediate ceasefire and allow increased humanitarian assistance into Gaza."

An anonymous Israeli official has claimed to local media that this is a "limited operation" and that at this point the offensive is being used for leverage by Tel Aviv. "It is being implemented to pressure Hamas" to accept a deal, the officials said.

Israel has claimed that the Rafah crossing is being used "for terrorist purposes" after four IDF troops were killed near Kerem Shalom on Sunday due to an attack launched from near the crossing by Hamas militants. 

The UN humanitarian affairs office has described that all fuel for aid trucks and generators enters the Strip through the Rafah crossing and that "If no fuel comes in for a prolonged period of time, it would be a very effective way of putting the humanitarian operation in its grave." 

But The Associated Press has confirmed:

The Israeli 401st Brigade entered the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing early Tuesday, the Israeli military said, taking “operational control” of it. Footage released by the military showed Israeli flags flying from tanks that seized the area. It also said that ground troops and airstrikes targeted suspected Hamas positions in Rafah.

Egypt now fears that a quarter-million people could quickly pour across the border and into the Sinai. Already Reuters has reported at least 23 people killed, including six women and five children, according to local hospitals.

Mass exodus of civilians seeking escape from Rafah...

A Palestinian victim of the onslaught, Abu Amra, has been cited in Al Jazeera as saying. "We did nothing … we don’t have Hamas," after his wife, two brothers, sister, and niece were reported killed. "We found fire devouring us. The house was turned upside down."

But Israel's military says its operations are targeted and aimed at rooting out terrorists. According to one limited operation detailed in Times of Israel:

The IDF and Border Police say they have wrapped up a 20-hour operation in the West Bank city of Tulkarem. Amid the operation, troops killed a gunman, detained six wanted Palestinians, seized weaponry and demolished three bomb-making labs, the military says.

Combat engineers also ripped up roads where explosive devices were planted, the IDF adds.

Newly leaked video from Rafah shows a tank crushing an "I love Gaza" sign...

So far, it seems a deal is not yet completely lost, as Israeli officials are said to be examining the Egyptian-Qatari proposed deal that on Monday Hamas said it had agreed to.

But Hamas has condemned the "dangerous escalation" in Rafah, saying in a statement, "This crime – which comes directly after the Hamas movement announced its approval of the mediators’ proposal – confirms the occupation’s
intention to disrupt mediation efforts for a ceasefire and the release of prisoners." Meanwhile, domestic pressure in the US will grow for the Biden administration to do something.