Wednesday, May 22, 2024

US confirms pause on weapons shipment to Israel over Rafah invasion, Biden rebukes Netanyahu’s plan

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has confirmed reports that the United States paused a weapons shipment to Israel over the Rafah invasion. This comes as US President Joe Biden said he would suspend offensive weapons transfers to Israel if it launches a full-scale invasion of Rafah.

On Monday, Israel began an offensive against Rafah, the southern Gaza border town where around 1.5 million displaced Palestinians are sheltering.

Israeli troops have been pummelling Rafah and seized control of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

Testifying before a US congressional subcommittee on Wednesday, Austin said the Biden administration had paused “one shipment of high payload munitions” amid concerns about the Israeli military’s push to invade the southern Gaza city of Rafah, Al Jazeera reported.

“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.

Austin said that the transfer of weapons is separate from a supplemental aid package for Israel that was passed in late April.

Israel, backed by the US, has already killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children. Over 10,000 people are missing or under the rubbles of buildings collapsed due to deadly strikes by Israel.

Biden also publicly acknowledged that US weapons systems have killed civilians in Gaza, saying, “It’s just wrong,” to continue supplying those weapons systems, according to a preview of the interview published by CNN.

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