‘Not Helpful’ to US National Security: GOP Senator On Pausing Weapons Shipment to Israel

Israel will ‘stand alone’ if needed and fight ‘tooth and nail,’ Netanyahu said after the weapons delay.

Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) criticized the Biden administration for delaying deliveries of weapons to Israel amid the country’s war with the Hamas terrorist group, warning that such an “unprecedented” decision will harm American security interests and that the matter was being closely watched by allies and enemies alike.

On May 8, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin revealed during a Senate hearing that the Biden administration delayed the delivery of some munitions to the Jewish state. Rafah, a city in southern Gaza, houses around 1.5 million Palestinians, and the Biden administration had expressed concerns that a large-scale military incursion in Rafah could lead to tens of thousands of civilian deaths. During a Senate Republican press conference on Thursday, multiple GOP lawmakers, including Mr. Risch, slammed President Joe Biden’s decision to hold off the supply of weapons to Israel.

“We have a situation here where Congress passed funding, the administration allowed these weapons sales, myself and the other three members of Congress—who closely look at these sales and take that obligation seriously—all signed off on it,“ Mr. Risch said. ”And now in the heat of battle, this administration is saying, ‘We’re gonna pull this back.’”

“This is unprecedented,“ he added. ”It’s going to be watched by our enemies, it’s going to be watched by our allies, and it is not helpful to the national security of the United States.”

While the Biden administration is saying it’s trying to reduce collateral damage, the Israeli government has already stated it’s “going in with or without anybody else’s help,” he noted.

On Wednesday, President Biden confirmed that he won’t supply weapons to Israel if its military enters Rafah.

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The Rafah operation was approved by Israel’s war cabinet on May 6. And on May 7, armed forces took control of the Rafah border crossing.

President Biden acknowledged that Israel has already entered Rafah but claims the military has not crossed his red line as the army had yet to enter highly populated areas.

In a video statement issued on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his government will not stop its war efforts. “If we have to stand alone, we will stand alone. If we need to, we will fight tooth and nail,” he said in response to the possibility that the United States might not send the ammunition.

During the GOP press conference, Mr. Risch pointed out that within two hours of President Biden’s statement on Wednesday, Hamas announced it was withdrawing from negotiations related to a possible ceasefire and the Israeli hostages it still has captive.

“What the president has done is handed a great victory to Hamas,“ Mr. Risch said. ”It’s going to invigorate the fighting that they’re doing in Gaza, and it’s going to stop the negotiations that have been ongoing. This was a horrible mistake.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) called the Biden White House “the most anti-Israel administration this nation has ever seen.” He claimed the Biden administration has been undermining Israel right from the beginning of the conflict.

“When Oct. 7 happened, when Hamas death squads were murdering 1,200 innocent civilians, were raping women and little girls, while the attacks were happening, the Biden State Department sent out a tweet at three in the morning saying Israel must not retaliate, there should be no military response. That tweet was disgraceful. I called it out at three in the morning and they deleted the tweet within minutes,” he said.

The next day, U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken posted another tweet, saying he talked to the Turkish foreign minister and they both agreed that Israel should not retaliate against Hamas’s violence, the senator stated. “I called that tweet out again. They deleted it again,”

“Where are we today? Well yesterday, Joe Biden said, ‘I made it clear if Israel goes into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons. We’re not going to supply the weapons and the artillery shells.’ I will point out Joe Biden and the Democrats lied to the American people on the supplemental funding bill that was just voted.”

“They claimed it was to provide military funding to Israel. We now know they were lying. It was instead to give money to Gaza and Hamas and everywhere else except Israel.”

Delaying Weapons Delivery

In a press briefing on Thursday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre justified the administration’s decision to delay the weapons delivery, saying the government does not support “a major ground operation in Rafah, a city now sheltering over 1 million people, since we believe there are better alternative ways to go after Hamas.”

She clarified this was a “pause” and that there was no “stopping of weaponry.” The press secretary insisted that the Biden administration’s “commitment to Israel’s security is ironclad.”

The weapons shipment had included 1,800 2,000-pound bombs and 1,700 500-pound bombs.

“We are especially focused on the end use of the 2000-pound bombs and the impact they could have in dense urban settings, as we have seen in other parts of Gaza,” Ms. Jean-Pierre said.

The administration has not made a final determination as to how to proceed with the shipment.

During the May 8 Senate hearing in which Mr. Austin took part, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) condemned the decision to delay weapons delivery to Israel.

Such a delay was “disastrous,” he said, comparing Israel’s use of large bombs in populated areas to America’s use of nuclear weapons in Japan during World War II, insisting that both are justified.

“This is obscene. It is absurd. Give Israel what they need to fight the war they can’t afford to lose,” Mr. Graham said.

Former President Donald Trump also slammed President Biden’s decision in a May 9 Truth Social post.

“Hamas murdered thousands of innocent civilians, including babies, and are still holding Americans hostage, if the hostages are still alive. Yet Crooked Joe is taking the side of these terrorists, just like he has sided with the Radical Mobs taking over our college campuses, because his donors are funding them,” he wrote.

“Biden is weak, corrupt, and leading the world straight into World War III. Remember—this war in Israel, just like the war in Ukraine, would have NEVER started if I was in the White House.”

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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