Saturday, May 25th, 2024

Biden’s ultimatum on Israeli attack sparks bipartisan reaction on Capitol Hill


President Joe Biden finds himself at the center of bipartisan criticism from Capitol Hill over his recent ultimatum to Israel threatening to halt certain US weapons shipments in response to a possible major Israeli attack in Rafah, CNN reports. Are.

In a televised interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett, Biden’s announcement received a sharp rebuke from lawmakers across the political spectrum. Republican Senator J.D. Vance of Ohio questioned the coherence of Biden’s approach, pointing to the contradiction between expressing concern for Palestinian civilian casualties and withholding weapons designed to reduce such casualties.

“On the one hand, they are saying that a lot of Palestinian civilians have been killed. On the other hand, they are depriving us of precision-guided weapons that actually reduce civilian casualties,” Republican Senator J.D. Vance of Ohio told CNN, though Biden particularly criticized the administration’s actions as indiscriminate and impeachable. Mentioned for stopping incoming bombs and artillery shells. ,

“So if you’re concerned about Palestinian casualties, the policy outlined here really doesn’t make sense,” Vance said, CNN reported.

The administration’s decision goes beyond mere rhetoric, with an ongoing review regarding the sale or transfer of weapons such as Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) kits to Israel. However, according to a US official, these potential transfers are still pending.

Biden’s public announcement marks a significant shift in US-Israeli relations since the conflict between Israel and Hamas began seven months ago. The move has drawn controversy, particularly among Republicans, despite the administration’s claims that Israel was warned in advance.

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina condemned the ultimatum as harmful to US–Israel relations, urging the administration to maintain the arms embargo and engage in negotiations with Israel. Florida Senator Rick Scott went further, accusing Biden of aligning himself with the “pro-Hamas wing” of his party.

Still, disagreements are not limited to partisan lines. A group of 26 House Democrats, led by Representative Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, wrote a letter expressing deep concern over the message sent by blocking arms shipments. They demanded clarity from the White House on its decision and the timing of aid delivery to Israel.

While some Democrats have defended Biden’s stance, highlighting the administration’s efforts to prevent civilian casualties, others have criticized the lack of clarity in messaging. Washington state representative Adam Smith clarified that only certain types of weapons, particularly “dumb” bombs, were being stopped due to concerns over their use in densely populated areas such as Rafah.

Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut emphasized Biden’s effort to learn from past military operations, suggesting that excessive civilian casualties could strengthen Hamas and invite further attacks on Israel and the US.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed concern over civilian casualties, saying Israel must do more to reduce losses. According to CNN, he highlighted inconsistencies in Israel’s application of procedures to minimize civilian casualties during the current conflict.

The impact of the conflict on Gaza’s civilian population has been significant, with the Health Ministry reporting a staggering number of casualties. Despite this, a State Department report stopped short of officially accusing Israel of violating international humanitarian law, a decision criticized by Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland.

Van Hollen expressed concern that the report’s findings could encourage Netanyahu to continue deadly attacks. He expressed regret at the Administration’s failure to provide a comprehensive assessment of Israel’s actions and compliance with international law.

Murphy acknowledged the report’s limitations but insisted on an accurate depiction of the complexity of the conflict. He acknowledged the Israeli military’s disastrous decisions but called for a nuanced understanding of the situation.

Senator Chris Coons of Delaware defended Biden’s actions, praising his decisive response despite facing backlash. Coons stressed that Biden’s public statement exemplifies his commitment to effectively addressing the crisis, CNN reported.



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