05/28/2024

The Biden administration told Congress Tuesday that it was moving forward with giving Israel more than $1 billion in new weapons despite President Joe Biden‘s warning he would withhold more bombs if there was a ground invasion of Rafah.

The Wall Street Journal reported the move citing officials who said that the weapons tranfer would include $500 million in tactical vehicles and $60 million in mortar rounds.

It comes after Biden stalled one shipment of 2,000-pound bombs to send a message to Israel about attacking tightly packed urban areas as more than 1 million Palestinians have sought refuge in the southern Gaza city.

‘We are continuing to send military assistance,’ national security adviser Jake Sullivan said from the White House podium Monday. ‘We have paused a shipment of 2,000-pound bombs because we don’t believe they should be dropped in densely populated cities.’

It could take years for the fresh $1 billion in weapons to make their way to Israel, but in moving forward with the transfer it indicated Biden didn’t want to further sully the relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Sullivan is expected to visit Israel and Saudi Arabia this weekend but White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre wouldn’t confirm an Axios report that said Israel had agreed not to expand its military operation into Rafah ahead of the national security adviser’s travels.

Part of Sullivan’s diplomatic mission will also be to push Saudi Arabia on a ‘mega-deal’ to normalize relations with Israel.

The White House has warned Netanyahu that a deadly Rafah offensive could kill the long-sought deal with the Saudis.

But Israeli tanks continued to push deeper into Rafah on Tuesday.

Biden has been paying a political price from the political left for backing Israel while Palestinian civilians are slaughtered.

More than 35,000 Palestinians have died since the conflict began in the aftermath of Hamas’ October 7 terror attack, which left around 1,200 Israelis dead.

The number is courtesy of the Hamas-controlled Palestinian health authority, which does not distinguish between Hamas fighters and Palestinian civilians.

Democratic members of Congress have condemned Israel for pushing the Palestinian population into a humanitarian crisis, while college campuses have seen widespread pro-Palestinian protests, resulting in mass arrests.

In the meantime, Republicans have hit the Biden administration for stalling the bomb shipment.

On Sunday, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham went on a tirade about the pause after Meet the Press host Kristen Welker pointed out that GOP President Ronald Reagan had made a similar move in 1982 over fears Israel was using U.S.-made weapons on the Palestinian civilian population.

Welker said to Graham, ‘Well, historians would say, “Why is it OK for Reagan to do it and not President Biden?'” – a question that set the Republican senator off.

‘Well, why’s it OK – well, can I say this?’ Graham said, when Welker interrupted. ‘Why is it OK for America to drop two nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end their existential threat war? Why was it OK for us to do that? I thought it was OK.’

‘To Israel, do whatever you have to do to survive as a Jewish state,’ he stated.

Welker, again, pointed out that senior military officials have said that the technology has changed.

‘Yeah, these military officials that you’re talking about are full of crap,’ Graham snapped.