US Halts Sales of Ammunition to Israel, Reports Reveal

Last week, the Biden administration placed a hold on a shipment of ammunition made in the United States to Israel.

Two officials with the Israeli government confirmed that information to Axios recently. This marks the first time since Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel back on October 7 that America has halted making a shipment of weapons that was intended to be used by Israel’s military.

According to the Israeli officials, the halt in the shipment raised significant concerns within Israel’s government. Officials scrambled to try to understand why the U.S. was holding the shipment as well.

This move comes as President Joe Biden has faced increased criticism about America’s continued support of Israel, even as more and more accusations come in about Israel’s conduct during its ongoing war in Gaza.

Back in February, the Biden administration asked Israel to give the U.S. assurances that any weapons that were made in America were being used in Gaza by the Israel Defense Forces in complete accordance with international law.

One month later, Israel provided the U.S. with a signed letter that gave those assurances.

The Israeli officials told Axios that the shipment of ammunition was halted last week. The White House declined to comment for the story. In addition, the Prime Minister’s Office in Israel, the U.S. Department of State and the Pentagon all didn’t respond to media inquiries regarding the situation.

Concern has increased recently that Israel is going to invade Rafah, the southern Gaza city where more than 1 million Palestinians have been sheltering after being displaced from other parts of the enclave due to Israel’s attacks on the terrorist organization Hamas.

Over the last week, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, released multiple statements that said he was intending to order a Rafah invasion regardless of whether his country was able to strike a ceasefire deal with Hamas or not.

One statement that he issued on Holocaust Remembrance Day on Sunday, even hinted at increasing tensions with the Biden administration. In that statement, Netanyahu said:

“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.”

These comments followed a “tough” conversation that Secretary of State Antony Blinken had with Netanyahu as part of a visit the top U.S. official made to Israel. Two sources who were briefed on the details of that meeting said the two leaders talked about Netanyahu’s plans for an upcoming invasion of Rafah.

During that meeting, Blinken told Netanyahu that “a major military operation” in Rafah would result in America publicly opposing that move, which in the end could negatively impact relations between the two countries.

John Kirby, a spokesman for the White House, then said only days later that leaders of Israel understand that Biden is “sincere” when he warns that there could be changes to U.S. policy about the war in Gaza “should they (Israel) move ahead with some sort of ground operation in Rafah that doesn’t take into account the refugees.”