Biden releases some of heavy bombs withheld from Israel

The refusal to send all of the arms was seen as a means of pressuring Israel not to pursue its Rafah operation.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

The Biden Administration has released some of the heavy bombs it had previously withheld from Israel, according to a US official.

The US held up the shipments in May because they were concerned they would be used in areas with high concentrations of Palestinian civilians.

The refusal to send all of the arms was seen as a means of pressuring Israel not to pursue its Rafah operation.

US President Joe Biden announced in May that the US would hold back shipments of 1800 2000-lb bombs and 1700 500-lb bombs, and would put a halt to further weapons shipments if Israel began its Rafah campaign.

This prompted Israel to reassure the United States that it would focus on targeted operations to eliminate terrorists and Hamas infrastructure rather than heavy bombardments.

The US official told The Times of Israel that assurances about the focused nature of the Rafah operation was the first stage towards resolving the conflict and would have been sufficient for the US to consider releasing the weapons, but the White House was upset that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a direct and public criticism of the Biden Administration for not sending the bombs.

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During his trip to Washington, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant resolved the disagreements and the White House decided to deliver the bombs.

The US official said, “We’ve been clear that our concern has been on the end-use of the 2000-lb bombs, particularly in advance of Israel’s Rafah campaign, which they have announced they are concluding.”

“Because of how these shipments are put together, other munitions may sometimes be co-mingled. That’s what happened here with the 500-lb bombs,” the official added.

“Since our main concern had been and remains the potential use of 2,000 lb bombs in Rafah and elsewhere in Gaza, the 500-lb bombs are moving forward as part of the usual process,” the US official concluded.

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