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Biden’s Threat to Israel: No More Weapons if Ground War Ensues

Daniel Kim Views  

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [Photo=AP·Yonhap News]

Amidst public warnings from President Joe Biden that the U.S. could halt military aid to Israel if ground warfare breaks out in Rafah, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has openly expressed his discomfort, stating that they would fight “even with just our fingernails.”

On the 9th, Netanyahu stated in a video message, “As I’ve said before, if we must, we will fight even with our fingernails. But we have much more than just our fingernails.”

He suggested the initiation of ground warfare in Rafah, saying, “Together, we will triumph with the great strength of spirit and God’s help.”

The Guardian pointed out that Netanyahu’s remarks disregard Biden’s public warning. Previously, Biden warned in an interview with CNN that if Israel launched a massive attack on Rafah, the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip, he would halt weapon supplies. This interview marked the first time Biden publicly announced his policy to stop weapon supplies to Israel.

The U.S. government believes that if ground warfare breaks out in Rafah, where over 1.4 million Gaza refugees are densely populated, civilian casualties will be significant. They are pressuring Israel to abandon ground warfare by threatening to temporarily halt the shipment of weapons to Israel, including 1,800 bombs weighing 2,000 pounds and over 1,700 bombs weighing 500 pounds.

However, Israel maintains that it can conduct ground warfare in Rafah without U.S. support. Daniel Hagari, a head spokesman for the Israeli military, said, “We have secured enough ammunition to carry out all planned operations, including the attack on Rafah.”

The likelihood of ceasefire negotiations breaking down is also high. An anonymous senior Israeli official told Reuters on the day that the Israeli delegation is in a reserved situation regarding Hamas’s position, and they believe the Cairo ceasefire talks have ended. This official added that Israel will proceed with ground warfare in the Gaza Strip, including Rafah, as planned.

ABC News also quoted Egyptian officials saying that both Hamas and the Israeli delegation left Cairo without a ceasefire agreement. They reported, “It’s unclear when ceasefire negotiations will resume.”

However, the White House denied this. While it is true that William Burns, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), left Cairo, other delegation members are still in Cairo discussing the ceasefire.

The U.S. political sphere is divided over the Biden administration’s decision. Republican members of Congress criticized the Biden administration for withdrawing its commitment to Israel, its closest ally. Ten Republican senators held a press conference condemning the Biden administration, saying they should not withhold or limit weapon support to Israel.

In response, John Kirby, the White House National Security Communications Advisor, refuted that Israel has secured enough weapons needed for defense. Advisor Kirby said, “He (Biden) will continue to provide all the capabilities that Israel needs,” suggesting that the support for defensive weapons will continue.

Some Democratic congressmen welcomed the decision of the Biden administration. Senator Chris Murphy said in an interview with Reuters, “I don’t think it’s in our strategic or moral interest to help Israel conduct a ground war in Rafah that kills countless innocent civilians and is unlikely to have a meaningful impact on Hamas’s long-term strength.”

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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