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Day 1206

1/ Biden – acknowledging that U.S. weapons have been used to kill civilians in Gaza – threatened to cut off shipments of American weapons to Israel if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu orders a full-scale invasion of Rafah. More than a million displaced Palestinians are currently sheltering in the southern Gaza city. Until now, which follows months of growing tension and frustration with Israel’s management of the war, Biden has resisted calls to limit U.S. support of Israel’s efforts to go after Hamas amid a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The Biden administration has also said for months that it would not support an operation in Rafah unless Israel presented a credible plan to evacuate and protect civilians living in the area. “I made it clear that if they go into Rafah – they haven’t gone in Rafah yet – if they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities – that deal with that problem,” Biden said. “Civilians have been killed in Gaza as a consequence of those bombs and other ways in which they go after population centers,” Biden added, referring to 2,000-pound bombs that he paused shipments of last week. On Tuesday, Israeli troops seized control of and closed the Rafah border crossing in what the White House characterized as a limited operation – short of the full invasion of the city. Since then, negotiations for a hostage and ceasefire deal have paused, in part because of the fighting in Rafah, and no aid has entered through Gaza’s southern crossings. The WHO and other humanitarian aid agencies warned that hospitals in southern Gaza have less than three days of fuel supplies left and without fuel “all humanitarian operations will stop.” Meanwhile, Netanyahu, who has vowed to achieve a “total victory” over Hamas and said the country’s military would enter Rafah “with or without” a ceasefire deal, reacted with defiance to Biden’s warning, saying: “If we need to stand alone, we will stand alone.” The IDF’s spokesman added that Israel already had the “necessary weapons” for its planned operations, “including in Rafah.” (CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / CNN / NBC News / ABC News / Politico / Wall Street Journal)

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