US says not changing Israeli policy despite Rafah strike


U.S. President Joe Biden has no plans to change his Israel policy following a deadly weekend strike on Gaza's Rafah -- but is not turning a "blind eye" to the plight of Palestinian civilians, the White House said Tuesday.

Gazan health authorities said 45 people were killed as a blaze tore through a camp for displaced people following the Sunday strike by Israel.

But Washington does not believe that Israel's actions in Rafah amount to a full-scale operation that would breach Biden's "red lines," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.

"As a result of this strike on Sunday I have no policy changes to speak to," Kirby told a White House briefing. "It just happened, the Israelis are going to investigate it."

Kirby added however that "this is not something that we've turned a blind eye to" when asked "how many charred corpses" it would take for Biden to change course on the issue.

Biden has previously said he would not support a major Israeli military offensive in Rafah, from which one million civilians have fled, and earlier this month paused a shipment of heavy bombs to Israel over concerns they could be used against the southern Gazan city.

Witnesses told AFP that Israeli tanks were stationed in the center of Rafah on Tuesday, after intense fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants in recent weeks.

But under repeated questioning Kirby insisted that the president was not "moving the stick" on how to define a major military offensive against Rafah.

"We have not seen them smash into Rafah," he added.

"We have not seen them go in with large units, large numbers of troops, in columns and formations in some sort of coordinated maneuver against multiple targets on the ground."

- No to ICC sanctions -

The Pentagon had earlier said that it considers Israel's assault on Rafah as "limited in scope."

Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh also said the administration was waiting for the Israeli military to conclude its investigation into Sunday's strike before commenting further.

"We certainly take seriously what happened over the weekend. We've all seen the images. They're absolutely horrific," Singh added.

Earlier U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Israel's preliminary investigation suggested that the strike was carried out using "the smallest bomb in their arsenal."

Israel has called the loss of life "a tragic accident" and its army said Tuesday its munitions alone could not have caused the deadly blaze, adding that it had targeted and killed two senior Hamas militants in the strike.

The White House also said it did not support calls from Republicans in Congress for sanctions against the International Criminal Court after its prosecutor sought an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"We don't believe that sanctions against the ICC is the right approach here," Kirby said, although he added that the United States still did not believe the war crimes court had jurisdiction.

Separately, the Pentagon said the U.S. military has suspended aid deliveries into the Gaza Strip by sea after its temporary pier was damaged by bad weather.

Comments 7
Thumb 29 May 2024, 15:25

Genocide Joe isn’t in charge…. Who is?

Missing HellAndWaite 29 May 2024, 18:20

He is.

It isn't "genocide".

Repeating a lie does not make a truth. To wit "Hezbollah did not assassinate Rafic Hariri, Hezbollah did not assassinate Rafic Hariri, Hezbollah did not assassinate Rafic Hariri" ... there "it's must be true", Right?


Thumb 30 May 2024, 03:18

Definition of Genocide According to the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide:
The Convention defines genocide as an act committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, including:

Killing members of the group. ☑
Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group. ☑
Deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the group’s physical destruction in whole or in part. ☑
Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group. ☑
Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. ☑

All boxes are ticked .

Missing HellAndWaite 30 May 2024, 22:21

Good people skilled in the law, and with both the position and authority to judge, do not concur with your ( armchair conclusions. Since you made a legal argument, that ends that.

Want a different outcome? Change the law or argue a different point.

Thumb 31 May 2024, 01:18

Who Decides Who's 'Good' and 'Skilled'?:

Ah, the classic appeal to authority. How convenient to claim that "good people skilled in the law" disagree. Who decides who's 'good' and 'skilled'? Is it the same 'good people' who have turned a blind eye to human rights abuses for decades because it doesn't fit their political agenda or financial interests?
Armchair Conclusions? Really?:

Calling the findings of Amnesty International and the UN Special Rapporteur "armchair conclusions" is laughably ignorant. These organizations conduct exhaustive investigations, often risking their own safety, to document atrocities. Maybe the real armchair critics are those dismissing these findings without even bothering to understand the on-ground realities.

Thumb 31 May 2024, 01:20

@ HellAndWaite Your comment drips with the arrogance of imperialism. "Good people skilled in the law" have always been the ones to justify atrocities as long as they serve imperial interests. Whether it's apartheid, colonial massacres, or the exploitation of entire continents, there's always been a legal argument to back it up. Funny how the 'good people' always seem to be on the side of the oppressor.

The real armchair judges are those who pontificate from positions of privilege, far removed from the realities of Gaza. It's easy to dismiss genocide when you're not the one being bombed, starved, and denied basic human rights. The cynicism here isn't in questioning these so-called 'good people', but in trusting them to be unbiased arbiters of justice.

Thumb 31 May 2024, 01:21

Mot de la fin, your argument perfectly encapsulates neo-colonial double standards. When Palestinians are systematically oppressed, it's dismissed as a complex issue requiring nuanced legal interpretations. But when it suits certain powers, international law is wielded like a club. This selective application of justice only serves to perpetuate modern forms of colonialism.