US President Joe Biden has decided to halt the supply of offensive weapons to Israel, particularly those that could be used in all-out assaults such as the one on Rafah.

Speaking in a televised interview, President Biden confirmed that the United States will not provide weapons if Israel proceeds with offensive actions in the area. Biden’s decision follows growing humanitarian concerns, with the UN and aid agencies warning of a potential disaster in Rafah as hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians flee the intensifying Israeli attacks. He expressed concern over the civilian casualties in Gaza, attributing them to the use of powerful munitions, including 2,000-pound bombs supplied by the United States to Israel.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin suggested a pending decision on a shipment of munitions. Biden indicated that the continuation of weapons supply depends on Israel refraining from entering Rafah. The pending munitions delivery includes the halting of a shipment of 3,500 munitions, including 2,000-pound bombs historically used in Rafah.

However, the president reaffirmed support for Israel’s defensive capabilities, such as the Iron Dome interceptor system.

Meanwhile, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan indicated that a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel may be within reach, emphasising the need for both parties to work towards a resolution.

Biden issued the warning to Israel, dismissing objections from Israeli officials and Republican critics alike. He emphasised that the supply of weapons will remain conditional on Israel’s adherence to his red line against entering Rafah. The Israeli army instructed 100,000 people to evacuate eastern Rafah on 6 May.

Republicans criticised the Biden administration’s decision, citing threats to Israel’s security. Democrats such as Senator Chris Van Hollen supported Biden’s stance, pointing out the importance of a two-way partnership based on mutual respect and adherence to international norms.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted on moving forward with Rafah offensive despite warnings from the United States. Israeli officials, including Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, expressed frustration over the delay in arms supply from the US.

CIA director William Burns is scheduled to meet with Netanyahu in an attempt to de-escalate tensions and find a path towards peace.

In the ongoing Israeli offensive in Rafah, Israeli troops have seized control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing.

According to latest reports, Israel has killed at least 34,844 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and wounded 78,404 others in Gaza since 7 October. Israeli forces have also destroyed nearly 75 percent of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure, including homes, hospitals, schools, and places of worship, while also blocking the entry of essential aid into the occupied enclave, pushing the population of 2.5 million people to starvation.