Biden siding with Hamas for halting Israel arms sale

Former US President Donald Trump attends his trial on alleged covering up of hush money payments, at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 9, 2024 [Getty]

Former US President Donald Trump has accused his election rival, Joe Biden, of siding with Hamas over threats to limit weapons shipments to Israel over a potential invasion of Rafah city in Gaza.

President Biden warned that he could halt some weapons supplies to Israel if it went ahead with its long-threatened ground offensive in Rafah, marking his most direct warning yet regarding the civilian impact of the war.

Trump, viewed as the most pro-Israel president in US history, criticised President Biden for his stance despite Washington’s firm support of Israel. This comes amid he ongoing war on Gaza, which has resulted in the deaths of around 35,000 Palestinians.

“Crooked Joe is taking the side of these terrorists, just like he has sided with the Radical Mobs taking over our college campuses,” Trump posted on his Truth Social network, referring to the protests against the war that have spread across US universities.

Speaking later to reporters outside the courtroom at his hush money trial in New York, Trump said that “what Biden is doing with respect to Israel is disgraceful”.

“He’s totally abandoned Israel, and nobody can believe it,” said the former president and Republican presidential nominee, who will face off against Democrat Joe Biden in the November election.

Following the president’s comments, other Republicans joined Trump in accusing him of supporting US student activists and university protesters who have called for an end of the devastating war on the Palestinian territory. 

Despite being a critic of Trump, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney was among the leading Republicans to weigh in against Biden, saying the US must “stand by allies, we don’t second guess them”.

“Biden’s dithering on Israel weapons is bad policy and a terrible message to Israel, our allies, and the world,” Romney added.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Biden “cannot claim his support for Israel is ‘ironclad’ while denying Israel precisely the weapons it needs to defend itself” in a post on X.

“The House has no choice but to impeach Biden based on the Trump-Ukraine precedent of withholding foreign aid to help with reelection. Only with Biden, it’s true,” Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas said on the same platform.

Under increasing pressure from the progressive wing of his own party to limit arms shipments to Israel, Biden paused delivery last week of 1,800 2,000-pound (907 kilogramme) bombs and 1,700 500-pound bombs.

His administration has previously taken smaller steps to express displeasure with Israel, including imposing sanctions on extremist settlers and not vetoing a UN Security Council resolution that supported a temporary ceasefire.

The White House later insisted that Biden still strongly supports Israel.

“The argument that somehow we’re walking away from this role, we’re not willing to help them to defeat Hamas, just doesn’t comport with the facts,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

“This is a president who visited Israel within days of the October 7 attacks,” said Kirby, adding that Biden had also “put American fighter pilots in the sky” to shoot down missiles and drones fired by Iran at Israel.

Biden has directed his team to collaborate with Israel to “refine their strategy” for defeating Hamas, as “smashing into Rafah … will not advance that objective”, Kirby added.

Agencies also contributed to this piece.

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