The United States withholds the shipment of weapons to Israel due to the offensive in Rafah

The United States withholds the shipment of weapons to Israel due to the offensive in Rafah
The United States withholds the shipment of weapons to Israel due to the offensive in Rafah
Wednesday 8.5.2024


The United States Secretary of Defense and therefore head of the Pentagon, retired general Lloyd Austin, confirmed this Wednesday that his country withheld a planned shipment of weapons for Israel, while studying the operation in the enclave of Rafah.

The decision was made by President Joe Biden, whose government has serious doubts about the plausibility of an offensive in the area without seriously affecting the civilian population.

“We are currently reviewing some short-term security assistance shipments in the context of the events unfolding in Rafah,” Austin said during an appearance before a Senate subcommittee. The official wanted to make it clear that the United States Government “has not made a final determination on how to proceed with that shipment.”

“We would like no major fighting to occur in Rafah, but our main focus is making sure we protect civilians,” Austin said, reiterating the position the United States has defended for weeks.

The detained shipment consists of “high-caliber ammunition,” he noted. Austin is the first member of the Biden administration to refer to what could be a turning point in the policy of delivering weapons to Israel by the United States.

226 and 907 kilo bombs

With his statement, the Head of the Pentagon confirmed the information reported by several American media, such as CNN, which detailed that the detained shipment contains 3,500 bombs: 1,800 bombs weighing 2,000 pounds (907 kilos) and 1,700 bombs weighing 500 pounds. pounds (226 kilos).

Despite everything, Austin insisted that support for Israel’s security remained unrestricted.

The concern of the Joe Biden government is mainly due to the final use of the 1,800 heaviest bombs and the impact they could have in dense urban environments, as has occurred in other areas of Gaza.

“We have been very clear… from the beginning we have said that Israel should not launch a large-scale attack on Rafah without considering and protecting the civilian population in the combat zone,” Austin said. Israel’s ambassador to the UN, meanwhile, said the decision was “very disappointing.”

Kerem Shalom closed again

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported this Wednesday that they once again closed the Kerem Shalom crossing, which is located in the south of the Gaza Strip and is key for the entry of humanitarian aid to the devastated Palestinian enclave, after an alleged new rocket attack by Hamas – a group considered terrorist by the European – that reportedly left a soldier with minor injuries.

The armed force said that these attacks threatened “the operation of the crossing” that Israel had reopened this same day, after having remained closed for three days after another rocket bombardment that killed four soldiers.

“It is the third attack this week,” said a military spokesman, who insisted that Israel wants aid to enter the enclave.

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However, earlier the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) had reported that no aid was entering Gaza, despite the announcement by Israeli authorities that this morning they had reopened Kerem Shalom and were inspecting trucks. With help.

In short, the IDF reported having been attacked with rockets by Hamas and the UN reports that no aid has been distributed within the Strip.

“This is disastrous”

Jonathan Fowler, a spokesman for UNRWA, confirmed that no aid had been distributed throughout the Gaza Strip all day. Israel usually counts all vehicles that arrive at military posts to be inspected as entries for trucks with humanitarian aid, without this meaning that the vehicles in question have been distributed.

“No fuel or aid has entered the Gaza Strip and this is disastrous for the humanitarian response,” Fowler said.

The Rafah crossing, at the southern end of the Strip, is also closed after the Israeli Army took it as part of a military operation in the east of the town, in which dozens of people have died after two days of intense bombing.

The closure of both crossings leads the tens of thousands of Palestinians displaced in the area to an even greater humanitarian catastrophe, as many international organizations have warned in recent days.

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