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Sunday, June 23, 2024

White House does not think Israel crossed ‘Red Line’ with Rafah operation

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The “limited” Israeli military operation in Rafah has not crossed President Joe Biden’s “red line” and therefore has not yet led to any changes in the US administration’s policy towards its closest ally in the Middle East, Axios reported, citing two American officials.

On Monday, Israel started a military operation in eastern Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said that the operation would disrupt the ongoing humanitarian assistance delivery to Gaza and that the Biden administration continues to oppose it.

Biden does not view the Israeli operation to capture the Rafah Gate crossing, which the IDF considers to be a key target and one of Hamas’ main strategic sites in Gaza, as a “breaking point” in relations with Tel Aviv, the report said on Tuesday.

But this could change if the limited operation broadens or gets out of control and Israeli forces enter the city of Rafah itself, where more than one million Palestinian refugees are taking shelter, the officials reportedly said.

The US officials have also confirmed that the Biden administration is ready to suspend weapons shipments to Israel or at least condition the use of specific US weapons systems if the Netanyahu war cabinet decides to go on a major military operation in Rafah.

Politico reported on Tuesday that the Biden administration has not yet signed off on a pending sale of Boeing-made Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) that can be converted to precision weapons, including small-diameter bombs.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Washington was expected to sell about 6,500 JDAM systems to Israel on Monday.

The delay is the first known instance of the United States delaying the supply of military aid to its closest ally in the Middle East amid disagreements over Israel’s stance on Rafah.

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