Biden Says He’ll Halt Offensive Weapons To Israel If It Invades Gaza In Unprecedented First

By TYLER DURDEN – Zerohedge

Update(2025ET): President Biden spoke to CNN’s Erin Burnett on Wednesday, and in the interview he issued some of the most significant warnings to America’s closest Middle East ally to date, warning Israel that he’s ready to halt offensive weapons transfers if the IDF launches an invasion of Rafah.

“Civilians have been killed in Gaza as a consequence of those bombs and other ways in which they go after population centers,” Biden said. “I made it clear 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, to deal with the cities — that deal with that problem.”

This is being widely interpreted to include all offensive weapons like bombs and artillery shells. He spelled it out in the following:

“We’re going to continue to make sure Israel is secure in terms of Iron Dome and their ability to respond to attacks that came out of the Middle East recently,” Biden told CNN. “But it’s, it’s just wrong. We’re not going to — we’re not going to supply the weapons and artillery shells.”

As The Hill underscores these comments constitute “the first time he has explicitly threatened to cut off the shipment of offensive weapons to the U.S. ally.”

Earlier in the day the State Department had previewed the new ‘warning’ to Israel over Rafah, saying that it’s a decision the White House is mulling (namely, whether to expand the pause on arms shipments).

So far, Israel has spoken about the Rafah op as ‘limited’ in scope, likely as a way to assuage Washington’s fears about scenes of a humanitarian nightmare and catastrophe. Pressure is growing on Biden ahead of the November election given Progressives and some of his base are peeling off in droves.

There appears to have already been at least a partial invasion of the eastern part of Rafah city:

* * *

US defense secretary Lloyd Austin confirmed while testifying before a congressional subcommittee on Wednesday that the Biden administration has paused an arms shipment to Israel, which reportedly includes large bombs and other ammunition being put on hold for transfer.

“We’ve been very clear … from the very beginning that Israel shouldn’t launch a major attack into Rafah without accounting for and protecting the civilians that are in that battlespace,” Austin told US lawmakers. “We’ve not made a final determination on how to proceed with that shipment [of weapons],” the Pentagon chief said.

Via Reuters

He added the caveat that the paused transfer in question remains separate from the supplemental aid package for Israel that was passed last month.

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan has called the move “very disappointing”. President Biden “can’t say he is our partner in the goal to destroy Hamas, while on the other hand delay the means meant to destroy Hamas,” Erdan said the same day as Austin’s testimony.

Austin did still emphasize, “My final comment is that we are absolutely committed to continuing to support Israel in its right to defend itself.”

Separately on Wednesday the State Department hinted that following the initial paused shipment, the US could extend the temporary ban to include more arms and ammo shipments.

Spokesman Matthew Miller says cited concerns over how Israel conducts itself in the Rafah operation. The White House has said it does not back an Israel ground offensive into the refugee-packed southern city.

“When you see the results of the campaign to date, you see too many Palestinians die. We have been clear for some time the results are unacceptable,” Miller told a press briefing. “We’ve paused one shipment.… We are reviewing other potential weapons systems. I’m not going to get into the underlying details here.”

Meanwhile, the outspoken Iran hawk Sen. Lindsey Graham had this bizarre and highly theoretical exchange with Defense Secretary Austin as well as Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Charles Q. Brown Jr.:

GRAHAM: Would you have supported dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? General Brown, to end World War II?

BROWN JR: Well Senator, I think it is based on the situation —

GRAHAM: Well, we know I mean, it happened, we know. I’m not asking, they did it. Do you think that was disproportionate?

BROWN JR: It was —

GRAHAM: Do you, in hindsight, do you think that was the right decision for America to drop two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities in question?

BROWN JR: Well, I’ll tell you, it stopped the world war.

GRAHAM: Okay. Well, so. Do you agree, General Austin? If you’d been around, would you say drop them?

AUSTIN: I agree with the chairman here.

GRAHAM: I mean, if you were if we go back in time says, hey, we got two atomic bombs, should we drop them? What would you say?

AUSTIN: Well, you know, I think the leadership was interested in curtailing —

GRAHAM: What’s Israel interested in? Do you believe Iran really wants to kill all the Jews if they could? The Iranian regime. Do you believe Hamas is serious when they say we’ll keep doing it over and over again? Do you agree that they will if they can?


GRAHAM: Okay. Alright. Do you believe that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization also bent on the destruction of the Jewish state?

AUSTIN: Hezbollah is a terrorist organization.

GRAHAM: Okay, so Israel’s been hit in the last few weeks by Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas dedicated to their destruction. And you’re telling me you’re going to tell them how to fight the war? And what they can and can’t use when everybody around them wants to kill all the Jews. And you’re telling me that if we withhold weapons in this fight — the existential fight for the life of the Jewish state — it won’t send the wrong signal? Do you still think it was a good idea, General Austin, to get out of Afghanistan?

AUSTIN: I support the president’s decision.

GRAHAM: Yeah, I think you do. I think it was a disastrous decision. If we stop weapons necessary to destroy the enemies of the State of Israel at a time of great peril, we will pay a price. This is obscene. It is absurd. Give Israel what they need to fight the war. They can’t afford to lose. This is Hiroshima and Nagasaki on steroids.

Is the Senator from South Carolina actually suggesting Israel might need to nuke the Gaza Strip? 

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