North American president conditioned the shipment on not attacking Rafah; project must be rejected in the Senate

The US House of Representatives approved on Thursday (May 16, 2024) a bill that would force US President Joe Biden (Democratic Party) to send weapons to Israel. The Democrat suspended the sending of 3,500 bombs to Israel out of concern for civilians sheltering in Rafah. On May 8, he said he would suspend the shipment of other weapons if Tel Aviv ordered a major invasion of the city, located in the southern Gaza Strip.

The project was approved in the Chamber by 224 votes in favor compared to 187 against. According to the newspaper The New York Times, the legislation has no chance of moving forward. Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, Senate majority leader, said the text “I wouldn’t go anywhere” at home. Members of the White House told the publication that Biden would veto the measure if it received Congress’ approval.

The project (in full, in English – PDF – 241 kB) “urges the Biden administration to allow all previously approved arms transfers to Israel to proceed quickly to ensure that Israel can defend itself and defeat threats from Iran and its proxies, including Hezbollah, Hamas and the Houthis”.

The White House sent to Congress, on Tuesday (May 14), a new military aid package for Israel worth US$ 1 billion (around R$ 5.1 billion at current exchange rates). The text includes the supply of tank projectiles, mortars and armored tactical vehicles.

The US is an ally of Israel, but tension between them has increased due to the Israelis’ determination to attack Rafah. The city has become a shelter for Palestinian civilians who have left other regions of the Gaza Strip since the start of the war.

Despite saying he would no longer supply weapons to Israel if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government carried out a major operation in Rafah, Biden reinforced that the US would continue to supply defense items, including for the Israeli air protection system. “We are not moving away from Israel’s security. We are moving away from Israel’s ability to wage war in these areas”, declared the North American president.

Republican congressmen stated that Biden was turning his back on Israel after the pro-Palestinian events held at several North American universities.

This is a catastrophic decision with global implications. Obviously, it is being taken as a political calculation, and we cannot let that happen”, the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Republican Mike Johnson, told journalists.

Democrats claim that the Republican Party is distorting Biden’s words. When speaking to journalists before the vote on Thursday (May 16), the Democratic leader of the House, Hakeem Jeffries, said that the text presented “not a serious legislative effort”.

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