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The United States has started reviewing future transfers of military assistance to Israel in light of the Israeli government’s potential move towards a Rafah operation, despite opposition from U.S. President Biden, other world leaders, and humanitarian officials. While no final decision has been made regarding the weapons delivery, the State Department is considering whether to approve future weapons transfers, including precision guidance systems onto bombs. This pause in arms delivery signifies growing friction between the U.S. and Israel over the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

CIA Director William Burns is expected to be in Israel for consultations on the latest cease-fire talks in Cairo. Hamas has accepted a proposal brokered by Egypt and Qatar, but Israel has stated it is still far from meeting its demands. Negotiators are trying to resolve disagreements over the truce deal, including phasing and the release of hostages. While it is positive that talks are ongoing, there is skepticism about whether an agreement will be reached due to the minor differences that still exist.

The decision to pause the arms delivery came as the Biden administration was set to miss a deadline to submit a report to Congress on whether Israel is using U.S. weapons in accordance with international law. The report is required under a National Security Memo signed by Biden, and failure to meet the deadline could result in recommendations to suspend further transfers of military assistance. The delay in the report’s submission reflects the strained relationship between the U.S. and Israel over the conflict in Gaza.

Biden has faced criticism both domestically and internationally for his clashes with Netanyahu over Israel’s military operations in Gaza and the potential operation in Rafah. The U.S. has advised against a major ground operation in Rafah, where thousands of civilians are seeking refuge amid the conflict. The Israeli military’s recent operations in eastern Rafah, after warning residents to evacuate, have raised concerns about the safety of civilians in the area.

The Biden administration’s review of military assistance to Israel reflects the growing tension between the two allies over the ongoing conflict in Gaza. The U.S. has urged Israel to refrain from a major ground operation in Rafah, where civilians are at risk, while also seeking to ensure that U.S. weapons are being used in accordance with international law. As negotiations for a cease-fire continue, the U.S. is closely monitoring the situation and working towards a resolution to the conflict.

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