Why US paused shipment of bombs to Israel – White House official

An undisclosed official from the White House has disclosed that the United States halted the shipment of bombs to Israel last week due to its concerns over ground operation in Rafah.

Recall that US President Joe Biden’s administration asked for the pause of a bomb shipment to Israel, which consisted of 1,800 2,000lb (907kg) bombs and 1,700 500lb bombs.

Reacting to the development despite Biden and US unwavering support to Israel, the White House officials said the pause was based on the unresolved issues of the humqnitraian needs of civilians in Rafah, southern Gaza.

The official said Israel has not “fully addressed” the US concerns on the plight of the people of Rafah, according to BBC.

Vanguard reported on Tuesday that Israel has sent tanks to Rafah to begin a major ground operation and seized some key crossing areas even as Hamas accepts ceasefire deals brokered in Egypt.

Recall that there were further Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip overnight, hours after Israeli forces backed by tanks took control of the key Rafah crossing on the border with Egypt.

The Israeli bombardment has been particularly intense around Rafah, as local medics alleged seven members of one family were killed in one overnight strike.

Rafah has been a key entry point for aid and the only exit for people able to flee since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas last October.

On Monday, the Israeli military ordered tens of thousands of civilians to begin evacuating nearby eastern parts of Rafah city, ahead of what it called a “limited” operation to eliminate Hamas fighters and dismantle infrastructure.

Meanwhile, efforts continue to reach a ceasefire, alongside the release of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners. In Cairo, delegations from Israel and Hamas are due to resume negotiations through mediators.

“The US position has been that Israel should not launch a major ground operation in Rafah, where more than a million people are sheltering with nowhere else to go,” the White House administration official said.

“We have been engaging in a dialogue with Israel in our Strategic Consultative Group format on how they will meet the humanitarian needs of civilians in Rafah, and how to operate differently against Hamas there than they have elsewhere in Gaza.

“Those discussions are ongoing and have not fully addressed our concerns. As Israeli leaders seemed to approach a decision point on such an operation, we began to carefully review proposed transfers of particular weapons to Israel that might be used in Rafah. This began in April.

“As a result of that review, we have paused one shipment of weapons last week. It consists of 1,800 2,000lb bombs and 1,700 500lb bombs. We are especially focused on the end-use of the 2,000-lb bombs and the impact they could have in dense urban settings as we have seen in other parts of Gaza. We have not made a final determination on how to proceed with this shipment.”

The unnamed official added, “For certain other cases at the State Department, including JDAM [Joint Direct Attack Munition] kits, we are continuing the review. None of these cases involve imminent transfers – they are about future transfers”.

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