Biden Threatens to Stop Arms Shipments to Israel, Harming Both Countries

In an unprecedented move to undermine a vital U.S. partner, President Joe Biden told CNN’s Erin Burnett in a clip that aired May 8 that if Israel goes into Rafah, beyond its current operations, the United States will not provide offensive weapons to Israel such as bombs and artillery shells. And, according to earlier reports, the Biden administration has already paused certain U.S. arms shipments to Israel in order to send a message of U.S. disapproval of Israel’s plan to conduct major combat operations in Rafah due to the perceived risk to civilians. 

Eliminating Hamas’s last brigade in Rafah, however, is critical to defeating Hamas and enabling aid to flow into Gaza. Any U.S. attempts to delay or prevent such an operation will only strengthen Hamas and prolong the suffering of civilians. Indeed, the administration has, ironically, suspended the delivery of the very precision-guided munitions (PGMs) that are critical to the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) ability to hit terrorist targets accurately while mitigating the risk to civilians. Moreover, by so publicly denying a partner’s attempts to defend itself, President Biden is emboldening U.S. adversaries and jeopardizing regional stability. In particular, a nuclear Iran and/or a dangerous escalation by Hezbollah grow more likely if these adversaries believe that Israel lacks sufficient munitions and U.S. support to confront them.

The United States must resume the shipment of all weapons to Israel or risk endangering its close partner while significantly undermining its own strategic interests in the Middle East.