US House passes bill aimed at ensuring arms shipments to Israel

The Biden administration paused a delivery of heavy bombs to Israel last week over fears they would be used in Rafah

The Republican majority in the House of Representatives passed a bill aimed at forcing shipments of US heavy munitions to Israel. The White House delayed a delivery of 2,000-pound bombs last week, amid fears they could be used in the Israeli operation in Rafah in southern Gaza.
The bill, called the Israel Security Assistance Support Act, passed 224 to 187, with Republican lawmakers voting overwhelmingly in favor, and all but 16 Democrats voting against. The document condemns the “Biden administration’s decision to pause certain arms transfers to Israel as Israel faces unprecedented threats.” It also proposes withholding certain funding to the Defense Department and State Department if the US doesn’t deliver the delayed heavy bombs.
The bill has largely been depicted as symbolic, given its chances of passing in the Democratic-majority Senate. Prior to the vote, the office of US President Joe Biden warned that he would veto the bill if it ended up at his desk. The administration “strongly opposes” the document, a statement added, claiming it would “undermine the president’s ability to execute an effective foreign policy” and potentially prohibit the US “from adjusting our security assistance posture with respect to Israel in any way.”

Biden warned Israel last week that he will not supply weapons and artillery shells if Israel expands its military operation deeper into Rafah. The overcrowded border town in southern Gaza was reported to be sanctuary to around 1.4 million Palestinians displaced by the Israel-Hamas war. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) ordered people in southeastern parts of the city to evacuate last week, warning of upcoming strikes.
Around 450,000 people chose to evacuate, according to UN figures as of Tuesday. The agency’s coordination office also warned of “ground incursions and heavy fighting” in eastern Rafah, Gaza City, and the Jabalia refugee camp.

According to local health authorities, more than 35,000 Palestinians have been killed since the onset of the conflict on October 7 2023, when Hamas militants attacked Israel, killing some 1,200 people and kidnapping more than 250.