Biden threat to stop Israel arms shipments welcomed by Democrats and criticized by Israeli

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Progressive Democrats welcome Biden arms shipment decision as Israeli officials criticize ‘disappointing statement’

Progressive lawmakers welcomed Joe Biden’s decision that the US will stop supplying bombs and other munitions to Israel if it launches a major military assault on the southern city of Rafah in Gaza.

US representative Mark Pocan of Wisconsin celebrated the announcement in a post to X.

“No offensive weapons in Rafah. Good! Thank you [Biden]! Millions of innocent Palestinians have been forced into a corner. Now it’s time for a ceasefire and to release all the hostages. It’s time to end the bloodshed once and for all.”

No offensive weapons in Rafah. Good!

Thank you @POTUS! Millions of innocent Palestinians have been forced into a corner.

Now it’s time for a ceasefire and to release all the hostages. It’s time to end the bloodshed once and for all. https://t.co/bQgWuBkAC5

— Rep. Mark Pocan (@RepMarkPocan) May 8, 2024

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No offensive weapons in Rafah. Good!

Thank you @POTUS! Millions of innocent Palestinians have been forced into a corner.

Now it’s time for a ceasefire and to release all the hostages. It’s time to end the bloodshed once and for all. https://t.co/bQgWuBkAC5

— Rep. Mark Pocan (@RepMarkPocan) May 8, 2024

Former Bernie Sanders adviser Matt Duss told Politico: “He’s shifting on a really important point here because the moment requires it, and I applaud that. It’s a recognition of how dire this moment is.” He added: “I understand folks who are having a tough time with the fact that this took so long, but I think it’s really important, you know, to acknowledge the steps the president is taking now.”

Republicans, including the House speaker, Mike Johnson, have criticized Biden’s latest action. Johnson called the decision a “betrayal” as the question of military aid had already been voted on in Congress.

Two top Israeli officials criticized US president Joe Biden on Thursday for threatening to stop certain arms supplies to Israel if it invades Rafah, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP).

“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,” Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, said on public radio in Israel’s first reaction to Biden’s warning.

Biden’s announcement comes as the US, UN and humanitarian agencies have warned that an invasion of Rafah – where millions of Palestinian people have been displaced amid Israeli attacks – would trigger a humanitarian crisis.

“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,” Biden said during an interview with CNN.

“We’re not going to supply the weapons and the artillery shells used,” Biden added.

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House speaker Mike Johnson said that he hoped Biden was having a “senior moment” after hearing about his threat to withhold US military aid to Israel.

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In an interview with Politico Wednesday, Johnson spoke about his reaction to Biden’s latest warning:

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n

My reaction, honestly, was, ‘Wow, that is a complete turn from what I have been told, even in, you know, recent hours … I mean, 24 hours ago, it was confirmed to me by top administration officials that the policy’s very different than what he stated there. So I hope that’s a senior moment.

n

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Johnson said that he had had “classified discussions” with “top administration officials” on Wednesday and was told there would be no delays with supplying weapons to Israel.

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He added that after Biden’s announcement, he approach White House officials who told him that the Biden’s threat does not impact the aid package passed by Congress.

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Johnson said:

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n

So this statement by the president tonight, I just want to – I hope, I believe he’s off-script. I don’t think that’s something that staff told him to say.

n

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US representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who previously called Israel’s attacks on Gaza an “unfolding genocide”, said that “[Biden]’s historic shift to include Israel in US standards makes the world safer and our values clear.”

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“President Biden enforcing conditions on US military aid and holding the Israeli gov to the same bar we hold all our allies to is the responsible, secure, and just thing to do,” she added.

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Other progressive representatives have applauded Biden’s threat to withhold US military aid to Israel if Israel launches a major military operation in Rafah.

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Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley said Biden’s threat of withholding US military air is the “right and just thing … to do”, in a post to X.

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“The United States has a clear obligation to stop the massacre of innocent civilians,” she added.

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Other Israeli officials have vowed to pursue Israel’s military goals in Gaza despite Biden’s threat to cut off US weapons if Israel launches a major military assault on Rafah.

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Israel’s far-right finance minister Bezalel Smotrich said his government would pursue its goals in Gaza despite the US warning, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP).

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“We will achieve complete victory in this war despite President Biden’s push back and arms embargo,” Smotrich said in a statement.

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“We must continue the war until Hamas is totally eliminated and our hostages are back home. This involves conquering Rafah completely and the sooner the better.”

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Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, also criticized Biden’s remarks, noting that Biden’s latest warning could give Israel’s adversaries “hope to succeed”.

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“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 on public radio.

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“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.”

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Progressive lawmakers welcomed Joe Biden’s decision that the US will stop supplying bombs and other munitions to Israel if it launches a major military assault on the southern city of Rafah in Gaza.

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US representative Mark Pocan of Wisconsin celebrated the announcement in a post to X.

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“No offensive weapons in Rafah. Good! Thank you [Biden]! Millions of innocent Palestinians have been forced into a corner. Now it’s time for a ceasefire and to release all the hostages. It’s time to end the bloodshed once and for all.”

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Former Bernie Sanders adviser Matt Duss told Politico: “He’s shifting on a really important point here because the moment requires it, and I applaud that. It’s a recognition of how dire this moment is.” He added: “I understand folks who are having a tough time with the fact that this took so long, but I think it’s really important, you know, to acknowledge the steps the president is taking now.”

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Republicans, including the House speaker, Mike Johnson, have criticized Biden’s latest action. Johnson called the decision a “betrayal” as the question of military aid had already been voted on in Congress.

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Two top Israeli officials criticized US president Joe Biden on Thursday for threatening to stop certain arms supplies to Israel if it invades Rafah, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP).

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“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,” Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, said on public radio in Israel’s first reaction to Biden’s warning.

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Biden’s announcement comes as the US, UN and humanitarian agencies have warned that an invasion of Rafah – where millions of Palestinian people have been displaced amid Israeli attacks – would trigger a humanitarian crisis.

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“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,” Biden said during an interview with CNN.

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“We’re not going to supply the weapons and the artillery shells used,” Biden added.

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Key events

The White House said that a major invasion of Rafah by Israel would not advance attempts by Israel to defeat Hamas, a spokesperson said on Thursday, Reuters reported.

“Smashing into Rafah, in [Biden’s] view, will not advance that objective,” spokesperson John Kirby said in a media briefing.

Kirby added that conversations about Rafah between the US and Israel are still ongoing.

The latest remarks from Kirby come as Biden and other US officials have repeatedly denounced a military operation in Rafah, noting that such a move would lead to a humanitarian crisis.

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More Democratic congressmen have supported Biden’s threat to block US weapons to Israel if Israel launches a major military assault in Rafah.

US representative Seth Moulton said that he was “more skeptical” of Israel’s plans to invade Rafah after meeting with the Israeli ambassador on Wednesday and supports Biden’s decision, in a post to X.

I’ve always said that Israel must defeat Hamas. The question is whether invading Rafah ultimately helps or hurts that cause. After meeting with the Israeli Ambassador today for an hour, I’m even more skeptical of their plan. I support President Biden’s decision.

I've always said that Israel must defeat Hamas. The question is whether invading Rafah ultimately helps or hurts that cause.

After meeting with the Israeli Ambassador today for an hour, I'm even more skeptical of their plan. I support President Biden's decision. https://t.co/qwymcB2LiS

— Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) May 9, 2024

nn”}}” config=”{“renderingTarget”:”Web”,”darkModeAvailable”:false,”assetOrigin”:”https://assets.guim.co.uk/”}”>

I’ve always said that Israel must defeat Hamas. The question is whether invading Rafah ultimately helps or hurts that cause.

After meeting with the Israeli Ambassador today for an hour, I’m even more skeptical of their plan. I support President Biden’s decision. https://t.co/qwymcB2LiS

— Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) May 9, 2024

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House speaker accuses Biden of having a ‘senior moment’ over arms threat

House speaker Mike Johnson said that he hoped Biden was having a “senior moment” after hearing about his threat to withhold US military aid to Israel.

In an interview with Politico Wednesday, Johnson spoke about his reaction to Biden’s latest warning:

My reaction, honestly, was, ‘Wow, that is a complete turn from what I have been told, even in, you know, recent hours … I mean, 24 hours ago, it was confirmed to me by top administration officials that the policy’s very different than what he stated there. So I hope that’s a senior moment.

Johnson said that he had had “classified discussions” with “top administration officials” on Wednesday and was told there would be no delays with supplying weapons to Israel.

He added that after Biden’s announcement, he approach White House officials who told him that the Biden’s threat does not impact the aid package passed by Congress.

Johnson said:

So this statement by the president tonight, I just want to – I hope, I believe he’s off-script. I don’t think that’s something that staff told him to say.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says Biden decision ‘makes the world safer’

US representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who previously called Israel’s attacks on Gaza an “unfolding genocide”, said that “[Biden]’s historic shift to include Israel in US standards makes the world safer and our values clear.”

“President Biden enforcing conditions on US military aid and holding the Israeli gov to the same bar we hold all our allies to is the responsible, secure, and just thing to do,” she added.

President Biden enforcing conditions on US military aid and holding the Israeli gov to the same bar we hold all our allies to is the responsible, secure, and just thing to do.@POTUS’s historic shift to include Israel in US standards makes the world safer and our values clear. https://t.co/O2hOPiqIcs

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 9, 2024

“}}” config=”{“renderingTarget”:”Web”,”darkModeAvailable”:false,”assetOrigin”:”https://assets.guim.co.uk/”}”>

President Biden enforcing conditions on US military aid and holding the Israeli gov to the same bar we hold all our allies to is the responsible, secure, and just thing to do.@POTUS’s historic shift to include Israel in US standards makes the world safer and our values clear. https://t.co/O2hOPiqIcs

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 9, 2024

Other progressive representatives have applauded Biden’s threat to withhold US military aid to Israel if Israel launches a major military operation in Rafah.

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley said Biden’s threat of withholding US military air is the “right and just thing … to do”, in a post to X.

“The United States has a clear obligation to stop the massacre of innocent civilians,” she added.

The United States has a clear obligation to stop the massacre of innocent civilians.

This is the right and just thing for @POTUS to do. https://t.co/uGzf1lHrFe

— Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) May 9, 2024

“}}” config=”{“renderingTarget”:”Web”,”darkModeAvailable”:false,”assetOrigin”:”https://assets.guim.co.uk/”}”>

The United States has a clear obligation to stop the massacre of innocent civilians.

This is the right and just thing for @POTUS to do. https://t.co/uGzf1lHrFe

— Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) May 9, 2024

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Amy Sedghi

Amy Sedghi

Defence minister Yoav Gallant told Israel’s “enemies and friends” on Wednesday that it would do whatever necessary to achieve its war aims in Gaza and the north, in an apparent response to US pressure to halt its operation in Rafah, reports Reuters.

The comments, at a ceremony to commemorate Israel’s war dead, followed US president Joe Biden’s warning that the US would halt weapons supplies if Israel moved into Rafah, the southern Gaza city where more than a million displaced Palestinians are sheltering.

“I turn to Israel’s enemies as well as to our best of friends and say – the State of Israel cannot be subdued,” he said, according to remarks released by his office. “We will stand strong, we will achieve our goals – we will hit Hamas, we will hit Hezbollah, and we will achieve security.”

The comments, from one of the war cabinet ministers considered to be most sensitive to the risk of alienating the US, underlined the scale of the standoff between the Biden administration and the Israeli government, said Reuters.

“We have no choice, we have no other country. We will do whatever is necessary, and I repeat – whatever is necessary, in order to defend the citizens of Israel, to remove the evil threats against us, and to stand up to those who attempt to destroy us,” he said.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defied mounting international pressure to agree to a ceasefire but has not so far ordered troops to enter Rafah, where Israel says four battalions of Hamas fighters are based.

In the north, Israeli forces have been engaged in exchanges of fire across the Lebanon border with forces of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia ever since the start of the war in Gaza last October.

Israeli officials say Biden threat doesn’t change military goals

Amy Sedghi

Amy Sedghi

Other Israeli officials have vowed to pursue Israel’s military goals in Gaza despite Biden’s threat to cut off US weapons if Israel launches a major military assault on Rafah.

Israel’s far-right finance minister Bezalel Smotrich said his government would pursue its goals in Gaza despite the US warning, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP).

“We will achieve complete victory in this war despite President Biden’s push back and arms embargo,” Smotrich said in a statement.

“We must continue the war until Hamas is totally eliminated and our hostages are back home. This involves conquering Rafah completely and the sooner the better.”

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, also criticized Biden’s remarks, noting that Biden’s latest warning could give Israel’s adversaries “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 on public radio.

“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.”

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Progressive representative Ilhan Omar acknowledged the work of student protesters after Biden said that US bombs supplied to Israel have been used to kill civilians in Gaza.

In a post to X, Omar said that “young people across the country protesting” helped move Biden’s rhetoric. Omar specifically highlighted Biden saying that “civilians have been killed in Gaza as a consequence of those bombs”, referring to US bombs supplied to Israel.

Omar said:

This is what young people across the country were protesting for and finally the needle has moved in a significant way. I hope we see more progress, but don’t ever let people tell you that your voices are meaningless and your actions are worthless. The arc of what is possible is always within us to bend.

Omar’s remarks are one of many reactions from progressive lawmakers at Biden’s threat to stop arm shipments to Israel if there is a major military assault in Rafah.

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Progressive Democrats welcome Biden arms shipment decision as Israeli officials criticize ‘disappointing statement’

Progressive lawmakers welcomed Joe Biden’s decision that the US will stop supplying bombs and other munitions to Israel if it launches a major military assault on the southern city of Rafah in Gaza.

US representative Mark Pocan of Wisconsin celebrated the announcement in a post to X.

“No offensive weapons in Rafah. Good! Thank you [Biden]! Millions of innocent Palestinians have been forced into a corner. Now it’s time for a ceasefire and to release all the hostages. It’s time to end the bloodshed once and for all.”

No offensive weapons in Rafah. Good!

Thank you @POTUS! Millions of innocent Palestinians have been forced into a corner.

Now it’s time for a ceasefire and to release all the hostages. It’s time to end the bloodshed once and for all. https://t.co/bQgWuBkAC5

— Rep. Mark Pocan (@RepMarkPocan) May 8, 2024

“}}” config=”{“renderingTarget”:”Web”,”darkModeAvailable”:false,”assetOrigin”:”https://assets.guim.co.uk/”}”>

No offensive weapons in Rafah. Good!

Thank you @POTUS! Millions of innocent Palestinians have been forced into a corner.

Now it’s time for a ceasefire and to release all the hostages. It’s time to end the bloodshed once and for all. https://t.co/bQgWuBkAC5

— Rep. Mark Pocan (@RepMarkPocan) May 8, 2024

Former Bernie Sanders adviser Matt Duss told Politico: “He’s shifting on a really important point here because the moment requires it, and I applaud that. It’s a recognition of how dire this moment is.” He added: “I understand folks who are having a tough time with the fact that this took so long, but I think it’s really important, you know, to acknowledge the steps the president is taking now.”

Republicans, including the House speaker, Mike Johnson, have criticized Biden’s latest action. Johnson called the decision a “betrayal” as the question of military aid had already been voted on in Congress.

Two top Israeli officials criticized US president Joe Biden on Thursday for threatening to stop certain arms supplies to Israel if it invades Rafah, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP).

“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,” Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, said on public radio in Israel’s first reaction to Biden’s warning.

Biden’s announcement comes as the US, UN and humanitarian agencies have warned that an invasion of Rafah – where millions of Palestinian people have been displaced amid Israeli attacks – would trigger a humanitarian crisis.

“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,” Biden said during an interview with CNN.

“We’re not going to supply the weapons and the artillery shells used,” Biden added.

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