Gilad Erdan (Screenshot)
Gilad Erdan

Erdan asks that if Israel can’t operate in Rafah ‘where thousands of terrorists, hostages and the leaders of Hamas are still present, how exactly is the goal of destroying Hamas supposed to be achieved?’

By Charles Bybelezer, Troy Osher Fritzhand, JNS

Israel’s ambassador to the U.N. on Thursday morning slammed U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to withhold weapons shipments, saying the move gives hope to Jerusalem’s enemies that they may achieve their genocidal aims.

“I don’t attribute bad intentions to the president, but I think it’s quite clear that any pressure on Israel, any restrictions imposed on Israel, even if they are from close allies who want our best interests, are interpreted by our enemies—and that could be Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah—as something that gives them hope to succeed in their goals,” Gilad Erdan told KAN radio.

“This may give them encouragement, the enemies of the Jewish people and of the State of Israel,” continued the envoy. “If Israel is restricted from entering such an important and central area such as Rafah, where thousands of terrorists, hostages and the leaders of Hamas are still present, how exactly is the goal of destroying Hamas supposed to be achieved?”

Erdan spoke after Biden threatened to withhold arms shipments if Israel enters Rafah, where four of Hamas’s six remaining terror battalions are stationed.

“If they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities—that deal with that problem,” Biden said.

The U.S. president claimed that his administration isn’t walking away from Israel’s security and that it would “continue to make sure Israel is secure in terms of Iron Dome and their ability to respond to attacks that came out of the Middle East recently.

“But it’s, it’s just wrong. We’re not going to—we’re not going to supply the weapons and artillery shells,” he added.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz wrote on X on Thursday that “Israel will continue to fight Hamas until its destruction. There is no war more just than this.”

Deputy Religious Services Minister Matan Kahana said the decision was not becoming of Biden, who has repeatedly described his commitment to Israel’s security as ironclad.

“Withholding weapons for a loyal ally in the middle of a war with a murderous terrorist organization is an act that should not be done,” said Kahana, who is a member of War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz’s National Unity Party.

Added Likud MK Dan Illouz: “President Biden’s stance on Rafah and conditional weapons sales not only jeopardizes Israel but the entire free world.

“His policy risks undermining our vital battle against the horrific terrorist organization Hamas, thereby threatening global security and emboldening terrorism worldwide,” Illouz said. “Israel remains resolute: We will win, we will defeat Hamas, and we will continue to protect freedoms worldwide.”

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir tweeted: “Hamas loves Biden.”

Heritage Minister and Otzma Yehudit MK Amichay Eliyahu paraphrased a famous quote from Winston Churchill, writing, “Joe Biden can be Churchill but he is choosing to be [Neville] Chamberlain, he chooses dishonor and will get both dishonor and war.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that the operation in Rafah will help achieve the destruction of Hamas and the return of the 132 hostages.

“Israel will not allow Hamas to restore its evil regime in the Gaza Strip, Israel will not allow it to restore its military capabilities and continue to seek our destruction. Israel cannot accept a proposal that endangers the security of our citizens and the future of our country,” he explained.

“We have already proven with the previous release of the hostages—military pressure on Hamas is a prerequisite for the return of our hostages,” he said.

The IDF began operating in “a targeted manner” against Hamas sites in the eastern part of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Monday night.

IDF ground troops took full control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah Crossing on Tuesday morning as tanks from the 162nd Division’s 401st Armored Brigade were deployed there.

The operation started as Hamas claimed it had accepted a ceasefire deal proposed by mediators, in what senior officials in Jerusalem described as “an exercise by Hamas meant to present Israel as the refuser.”

Opposition leader Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid on Thursday sided with Biden, saying that the “failure of this becoming a public disagreement during wartime is entirely on the [Netanyahu] government.”

Biden’s interview aired hours after U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin confirmed a pause in shipments during testimony at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing.

“We have paused one shipment of high payload munitions,” Austin said. “We’ve not made a final determination on how to proceed with that shipment.”