Biden leveraging weapons sales to force Israel to scale down Gaza war – report

US reportedly using weapon sales to Israel as leverage to pressure Jerusalem to reduce operations in Gaza.

By Avraham Shusteris, World Israel News

As calls grow within the Democratic party to push for a ceasefire in Gaza, the White House has reportedly instructed the Pentagon to review which military weapons the U.S. can withhold or delay in order to encourage Israel to draw down the scale and intensity of its offensive in Gaza.

If Sunday’s NBC News report is correct, this marks a significant shift in U.S. policy from just one month ago.

In mid-December U.S. officials were quoted as saying that the U.S. does not plan to “draw any red lines around the transfer of weapons and munitions to Israel.”

At that time, when questioned about U.S. policy given the mounting civilian death toll in Gaza, Biden responded “We’re not going to do a damn thing other than protect Israel”.

U.S. official sources quoted by NBC News Sunday claimed that while the U.S. was unlikely to withhold air defense systems, sales of offensive munitions such as 155 mm artillery rounds and joint direct attack munitions (JDAMS), which are guidance kits that convert dumb bombs into precision-guided munitions, are currently under review.

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According to the NBC News report, senior US officials expressed frustration with Israeli officials, claiming that Israel has often “disregarded their calls for taking more care to minimize harm to Palestinian civilians, citing the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Khan Younis as the most recent example.”

When news broke of this report, Israeli CNN political analyst Barak Ravid quickly responded on X by saying “three U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the issue told me there was no direction from the White House to review or slow-walk weapons supply to Israel. Two of the officials told me there are some people in the administration who would like this to be true, but it isn’t.”

Ravid was quoted recently on CNN saying that the Gaza war has caused “huge political damage for Biden.”