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The House Oversight Committee is launching an investigation into the Biden administration’s threats to withhold offensive aid from Israel if it proceeds with a ground invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah. Committee Chairman James Comer questioned the decision-making process and the timing of the announcement in a letter to President Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan. Republicans on the Oversight Committee are alarmed by the administration’s willingness to play political games with U.S. taxpayer-funded assistance to Israel. They are seeking a congressional briefing and documents related to discussions about pausing aid to Israel, with a deadline of May 24.

President Biden made the ultimatum to Israel in a CNN interview, saying that if Israel proceeds with a ground invasion of Rafah, he will not supply certain categories of offensive weapons historically used in such operations. Despite this, he affirmed that the U.S. will continue to support Israel’s defensive systems, like the Iron Dome. The decision to withhold military aid and hide it from the public for political purposes is concerning to the Oversight Committee, especially after the Biden administration pledged transparency and truth in government. The committee questions the administration’s priorities, suggesting they are motivated by public perception rather than what is best for national security or diplomacy.

White House National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby stated that Israel was aware of the warning about offensive aid before Biden’s CNN interview. Kirby emphasized that Israel has not yet launched a full invasion of Rafah’s population centers and that the U.S. will continue to provide Israel with the capabilities it needs to defend against its enemies, including Hamas. Biden’s past statements regarding military aid to Israel, such as calling Israel the U.S.’s only true ally in the region, are contrasted with the recent decision to withhold certain categories of weapons from Israel for a specific type of operation in a particular place.

The Oversight Committee’s investigation into the Biden administration’s funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is mentioned, following accusations that staffers for the organization had links to a Hamas terror attack in 2023. This investigation adds to the scrutiny of the administration’s handling of aid to entities connected to unrest in the region. The committee’s focus on transparency and accountability in government actions is highlighted as they seek to understand the decision-making processes behind the threats to withhold offensive aid from Israel. Concerns are raised about the potential implications of withholding aid from a key ally in the region.

The investigation into the Biden administration’s handling of aid to Israel is part of broader oversight efforts by the House Oversight Committee to ensure transparency and accountability in government decisions. The committee is seeking a briefing and documents related to discussions about withholding offensive aid from Israel, in light of President Biden’s recent ultimatum on the matter. Questions have been raised about the motives behind this decision and the implications for U.S.-Israel relations. The investigation highlights tensions between political considerations and national security interests in U.S. foreign policy. The Oversight Committee’s efforts to uncover the truth behind these decisions reflect a commitment to upholding democratic principles and oversight in government actions.

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