US halted ammunition shipment to Israel over Gaza war concerns: report

US halted ammunition shipment to Israel over Gaza war concerns: report
The US has reportedly delayed a shipment of ammunition to Israel amid fears that it will soon attack Rafah, where 1.4 million displaced Gazans are sheltering.
3 min read
06 May, 2024
The US government recently signed a major package unlocking billions of dollars worth of military aid for Israel in its war on Gaza [GETTY]

The US administration paused a weapons shipment to Israel over concerns about the military's conduct in the Gaza war and the invasion of the southern city of Rafah, according to a report.

Israeli officials said that a shipment of ammunition expected in Tel Aviv was halted by the Biden administration in what would be the first time such a shipment has been held up since the start of the Gaza-Israel war in October.

It comes amid increasingly tense relations between Israel and its closest ally, largely centred on the Israeli military's conduct in Gaza and questions over whether US-made weapons are being used in accordance with international law.

Unnamed Israeli officials, cited in a report by US outlet Axios, said that the Biden administration had halted a shipment of ammunition but did not disclose further details on the type of equipment. The report said that concerned Israeli officials have been scrambling to find out why the delivery has been put on hold.

The New Arab contacted the US State Department who declined to comment on the matter.

Israel's seven-month long war on Gaza seemed likely to escalate on Monday as the Israeli military ordered Palestinians to move from shelters in eastern Rafah to a so-called expanded "humanitarian zone" along the beach area of Al-Mawasi in advance of a highly anticipated ground incursion.

The White House has repeatedly expressed its opposition to "a major military operation" in Rafah. Last week. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken following a visit to the region said he had not yet viewed a "credible" plan from Israel regarding an attack on the city.

Some 1.4 million Palestinians have fled from other parts of the Gaza Strip to Rafah as a result of Israel's ferocious and indiscriminate attacks and most are living in dilapidated tents, dependent on aid handouts and at risk of famine and disease. 

The UN and other humanitarian agencies have expressed major concern not only about the dangers of a ground invasion, but also the extreme challenges of evacuating large numbers of people across destitute areas that lack basic supplies.

Israel had been expecting military support from the US after President Biden signed a huge package in April which saw some $17 billion assigned to Israel for military aid, despite the president facing mounting calls at home and abroad to restrict assistance.

Since Israel was established in 1948, the US has been its largest supplier of military aid, amounting to around $3.3 billion annually. It has enabled Israel to enhance the production and development of weaponry, including recently its Iron Dome missile interceptor.

More than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed and 78,000 injured since October and Israel has faced repeated accusations that it is committing war crimes and genocide over its indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas and collective punishment of the population.

Israel has maintained that four Hamas battalions are present in the southern city which borders Egypt, including members of its senior leadership. It also believes that Israeli hostages are captive in the area.