Officials in Israel: White House Put Shipment of U.S. Ammo on Hold 

The Biden administration put a hold on a shipment of U.S.-made ammunition last week to Israel amid worries over an Israeli invasion of the Gaza city of Rafah, where more than one million Palestinian refugees are seeking shelter, according to two officials in Israel.

The hold of ammunition marks the first time since the United States has stopped a shipment to Israel’s military since the October 7 Hamas attacks, and is raising concerns inside the government of Israel, said officials.

The White House declined to comment on the decision, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Pentagon, and the State Department did not respond to questions asked by Axios.

However, President Biden is continuing to face criticism over his support of the actions of Israel in Gaza, and in February, the administration asked the Israeli military to show proof that American-made weapons are being used in accordance with international law. 

In March, Israel signed a letter of assurances.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister, has insisted numerous times in recent days he plans to order the invasion of Rafah, even if Hamas and Israel agree to a deal for a cease-fire and the release of hostages Hamas continues to hold in Gaza.

The Israeli prime minister, in a statement on Sunday’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, hinted at the tensions with the Biden administration.

“In the terrible Holocaust, there were great world leaders who stood by idly; therefore, the first lesson of the Holocaust is: If we do not defend ourselves, nobody will defend us. And if we need to stand alone, we will stand alone,” Netanyahu commented.

In the meantime, sources briefed on the meeting said Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Netanyahu had a “tough” conversation in Israel about the planned Rafah operation.

Blinken told Netanyahu the U.S. would oppose a Rafah strike

Secretary Blinken reportedly told Netanyahu that the U.S. would oppose a strike on Rafah publicly and the military action in the city would hurt relations between Israel and the United States. 

On Thursday, John Kirby, White House spokesperson, told reporters leaders in Israel know President Biden is “sincere” about changing policy about the war in Gaza if the ground operation “doesn’t take into account the refugees.”

On Saturday, Jake Sullivan, White House national security adviser, reiterated that stance and commented at a Financial Times conference that the administration has made it clear that United States policy will be influenced by how the Rafah operation progresses.

In the meantime, Netanyahu said he won’t agree to end the war as part of a hostage deal allowing Hamas to remain in power in Gaza.