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Biden’s Threat to Halt Arms to Israel Stirs Outcry from Donors

 May 12, 2024

Amid escalating tensions in the Middle East, President Joe Biden's conditional threat to withhold weapon shipments to Israel has ignited a storm of criticism from major U.S. donors.

President Joe Biden has threatened to pause U.S. weapon shipments to Israel should they invade Rafah, causing a backlash among prominent American supporters of Israel and concern among his inner circle, as Fox News reports.

On Wednesday, Biden declared during a CNN interview that the U.S. would halt specific weapon deliveries historically used in urban operations if Israel pursued a military incursion into Rafah, a noted Hamas stronghold in Gaza. This move is aimed at preventing potential escalation and civilian casualties.

Immediate Backlash from Influential Pro-Israel Donors

The reaction from pro-Israel figures was swift and sharp. Haim Saban, an influential Democratic megadonor, voiced his strong disapproval in an email to White House officials.

He labeled the decision as “bad, bad, bad” and urged reconsideration, highlighting the negative implications for U.S. foreign relations.

Mark Mellman, a Democrat Party advocate, expressed his concern about the policy shift in a statement to Axios.

According to Mellman, this represented a significant deviation from historical U.S. support, which has been unwavering under previous administrations.

Biden's Justification and Public Statement

In his interview, Biden emphasized that the decision was in line with maintaining overall security support for Israel, including the Iron Dome missile defense system. He insisted that the U.S. commitment to Israel’s defense against attacks from the region remains steadfast.

However, Biden stressed the necessity of rethinking the provision of heavy arms used in urban warfare, especially in contentious zones like Rafah where civilian populations are at high risk.

Political Implications and Community Reactions

The decision has stirred speculation about the influence of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, especially with critical elections looming in November.

Many view this as a strategic move to appease a growing segment within the party advocating for a more balanced approach in the Middle East.

Furthermore, the Hamas leadership in Rafah reportedly using hostages as human shields complicates the situation, adding to the debate over the U.S. military's role in the conflict.

Investigation and Continued Debates

The unfolding situation has led to the House Oversight Committee announcing an investigation into the Biden administration’s threat to withhold offensive military aid from Israel. This reflects the broader controversy and the potential ramifications of the U.S. altering its stance on military support in the region.

Amid these tensions, the White House had yet to respond to inquiries about the decision at the time of this report, leaving many questions unanswered about the future of U.S.-Israel relations.

Conclusion: A Crucial Juncture for U.S. Foreign Policy

In conclusion, Biden's conditional threat to halt weapon shipments to Israel has revealed deep divisions within the U.S. political landscape and among its allies.

This pivotal moment underscores the complex dynamics at play in U.S. foreign policy, as the administration navigates domestic pressures and international responsibilities.

The outcomes of these decisions could redefine America's role on the global stage, particularly in terms of its longstanding alliances in the Middle East.