WASHINGTON D.C. (Michigan News Source) – In a significant move, in the midst of rampant anti-Israel protests on American college campuses, the Biden administration has threatened to place a temporary hold on a planned shipment of U.S.-made ammunition and bombs destined for Israel. This action marks the first time since the attack on Israel on October 7th that such a shipment has been halted, raising eyebrows and sparking concern among both Israeli and American officials.

The decision comes amidst escalating tensions in the region, particularly centered around Israeli military action in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. With over one million displaced Palestinians seeking refuge in Rafah, concerns have mounted about the potential humanitarian impact of any further military operation in the area.

Netanyahu pushes back, says they’ll go it alone if needed.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted at intentions to proceed with an invasion of Rafah, irrespective of ongoing negotiations with Hamas and potential ceasefire agreements saying that Israel will go it alone if necessary.

What Biden said.

Biden said in a CNN interview on Wednesday, May 8th “If they (Israel) go into Rafah…I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities.” Axios reports those weapons to be artillery shells, bombs for fighter jets and other offensive weapons.

This comes only two weeks after the president signed a bipartisan $95 billion package, which encompassed $26 billion in assistance for Israel along with aid for Gaza.

Here in Michigan, lawmakers in Congress have been vocal about their opinions regarding the Israel- Gaza conflict and some have also weighed in concerning President Biden’s decision to pause the transfer of offensive military weapons to Israel.

Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee supports Biden’s stance.

Representative Dan Kildee took to the social media platform X last Wednesday to express his support for President Biden’s decision, applauding the move to withhold offensive military weapons transfers to Israel if it chooses to invade Rafah. Kildee emphasized the need for the United States to take measures to prevent indiscriminate civilian deaths in Gaza, signaling his approval of Biden’s stance.

Republican Rep. John James says Biden administration is naive and cowardice.

However, not all Michigan lawmakers share Kildee’s sentiments. Republican Rep. John James spoke with Maria Bartiromo on the Fox News show “Mornings with Maria” on Friday and criticized the possible arms embargo, stating, “It’s frightfully naive of the administration and it’s cowardice in the

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face of the enemy. I’ve been to war and I’ve faced militias trained by Iran and I know for a fact, the only thing these terrorists understand is a warhead to the forehead.”

James went on to say, “This administration is negotiating with terrorists and that leads to more American lives in danger. Under this administration, it’s open season on America. I’m old enough to remember back when we didn’t negotiate with terrorists…we were doing things to cause peace in the Middle East under Trump’s leadership because the world respected the United States of America. Under this confused old man (Biden) the world is backing away from America and Americans are less safe.”

James, an Iraq war veteran who is on the Foreign Affairs Committee, pointed to Rafah as being the home base of Hamas and said, “They (Hamas) would only negotiate if they felt like they were losing. But when you see America backing away from Israel, it teaches Hamas and the terrorists that they are winning.”

Republican Rep. Tim Walberg says Biden is wrong.

Republican Rep. Tim Walberg also commented on Biden possibly holding back arms from Israel, saying on X: “President Biden’s actions are not only wrong but fly in the face of the overwhelmingly bipartisan will of Congress. He’s even held back munitions designed for precision targeting to limit civilian casualties. His decision is putting politics over common sense.”

Democratic Rep. Haley Stevens defends Israel’s right to self-defense.

And while Michigan Democratic Rep. Haley Stevens hasn’t released a direct statement on the possible arms embargo, she said on Friday about the Israel-Hamas conflict on X: “Israel is in the midst of a fight like it has never faced and has every right to defend itself against Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran. In pursuit of a ceasefire, I encourage our diplomatic leadership to keep all pressure on Hamas to force capitulation and the release of hostages.”

Democratic Reps Elissa Slotkin and Debbie Dingell ride the fence.

Democratic Representative Elissa Slotkin, currently vying for the senate seat in Michigan, has taken a nuanced stance on the complexities of the Middle East. In her statement, she tried to navigate the complicated nature of the issue by addressing various perspectives. She said in a statement on X: “We should remember right now: First, the best possible outcome for everyone is a negotiated ceasefire that brings the hostages home and allows civilian aid to flow. That was the goal of the negotiating in Cairo this week. I’m not privy to the details, but it certainly seemed that Hamas had the ability to stop this latest operation if they cared at all for the civilians in Gaza.”

Slotkin went on to say, “Second, it’s never good when disputes between allies happen in public. Disagreements between allies are not new, but these discussions are much more productive when they happen out of the headlines…Israel needs to make clear how it will target Hamas in an effective way and protect civilians. Hopefully they can share that plan (with us) soon and we can focus on what we share: a desire to bring hostages home and defeat Hamas.”

Democratic Rep. Debbie Dingell also appeared to take a stand on both sides of the conflict when she said, “We must be unwavering in the fight against antisemitism & stand up to racism, sexism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, homophobia and all other forms of hatred wherever and whenever we see it.”

Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib doesn’t hold back on her thoughts on Israel.

Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib isn’t holding back on her views, however, and is not being nuanced at all. Her statement on X is the following: “It’s no coincidence that immediately after our government sent the Israeli apartheid regime over $14 billion with absolutely no conditions on upholding human rights, Netanyahu began a ground invasion of Rafah to continue the genocide of Palestinians – with ammunition and bombs paid for by our tax dollars.”

Calling for an end to all U.S. military funding for Israel and an immediate ceasefire, Tlaib said that while her colleagues might express concern for the “crimes against humanity that are about to unfold” she urges voters not be be misled because “they gave their consent for these atrocities, and our country is actively participating in genocide.”