Report: Biden mulling moves to keep Israel from using US weapons in Rafah

The US is apparently considering taking steps to prevent Israel from using American arms on a planned offensive in the southern Gazan city of Rafah, the Washington Post says.

Columnist David Ignatius writes that US President Joe Biden and other officials “haven’t made any decision about imposing ‘conditionality’ on U.S. weapons. But the very fact that officials seem to be debating this extreme step shows the administration’s growing concern about the crisis in Gaza.”

“If Israel launches an offensive in Rafah without adequately protecting the displaced civilian population, it may precipitate an unprecedented crisis in U.S.-Israel relations, even involving arms supplies,” former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk is quoted saying.

The column also says that the US appears to have backed off hopes for a diplomatic initiative pairing Saudi normalization with a pathway to a Palestinian state.

Ignatius, sometimes seen as a cipher for administration thinking, telegraphs deep White House frustrations with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

“Behind the growing tension with Netanyahu is Biden’s feeling that Israel hasn’t been listening to U.S. warnings and advice, and that the U.S.-Israeli relationship has been a one-way street,” he writes. “The administration feels it supports Israeli interests, at considerable political cost at home and abroad, while Netanyahu isn’t responsive to American requests. Israel argues that any space between U.S. and Israeli policy only benefits Hamas. But Israel doesn’t make compromises to narrow that gap.”

Most Popular