JERUSALEM—After President Biden gave his ultimatum of withholding offensive weapons to the Jewish state if Israel were to launch an invasion of Rafah, rocket attacks rained down on Israel on Friday from Rafah, with more rockets fired on Saturday.

Hamas launched rockets from Rafah at the southern Israeli city of Beersheva on Friday for the first time since December, as Iranian proxy Hezbollah sent a barrage of rockets into the northern Israel city of Kiryat Shmona, causing a massive fire. Within the Gaza Strip on Friday, four Israeli soldiers were killed.

“When administration officials attacked or berated Israel publicly previously during the war, Hamas hardened its demands in return for releasing hostages, in fact delaying and minimizing the chances of success of the delicate negotiation,” Jonathan Conricus told Fox News Digital. Conricus served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for 24 years as a combat commander in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.


The aftermath of a Hezbollah rocket barrage in the northern Israeli city of Kiryat Shmona on May 10, 2024. Credit Erez Bar Simon/TPS-IL (Erez Bar Simon/TPS-IL)

“When Israel’s enemies detect tension between the U.S. and its most loyal and steadfast ally in the region, Israel, it emboldens them to attack Israel more and continue with their tactics of using human shields, since they understand that the U.S. will eventually punish Israel for defending itself, regardless of Hamas and Hezbollah’s actions.” 

Conricus, who served as an IDF spokesman during the Gaza war and is now a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies added, “In the short term, these American statements will lead to enhanced violence and fighting, since they embolden Israel’s enemies. In the long term, they may push another American Middle Eastern ally away from the U.S. sphere of influence, and reinforce concerns harbored by many U.S. partners about the quality and steadfastness of U.S. support when needed the most.”

On Friday the IDF said that “five launches were identified crossing from central Gaza toward the area of Beersheva.” Nine additional launches were identified crossing from the area of Rafah toward the city and fell in open areas, the IDF stated. (Screenshot: IDF Spokesman’s Unit.) (IDF Spokesman’s Unit)

America’s former Ambassador to Israel during the Trump administration, David Friedman, posted a blunt message on X about the new Biden policy: “Hamas now firing rockets from Rafah into Beersheva — Israel’s largest southern city. Why wouldn’t they? — they have no fear of a reprisal. Biden has emboldened Hamas!”

Fox News Digital reported that many Israelis view Biden’s pause of weapons deliveries to be a betrayal of his assurance that he backs the Jewish state with an “ironclad” security promise.

Gen. Jack Keane (Ret.) told Fox & Friends on Friday that Biden is “walking away from Israel,” and called Biden’s decision “stunning.”

The enemies of Israel and America are closely watching Biden’s decision to reportedly create daylight between the U.S. and the Mideast’s only democracy, Israel. 


IDF Forces preparing for possible Rafah campaign

IDF forces stand ready in southern Israel near the Gaza border for a possible ground offensive in Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah to continue fighting Hamas and disbanding its battalions. Southern Israel, May 1, 2024. Photo by Noam Shaar/TPS (Photo by Noam Shaar/TPS)

On Thursday, John Kirby, the White House National Security Communications Adviser, said the U.S. was fully behind Israel. “The arguments that somehow we’re walking away from Israel fly in the face of the facts. I mean, this is a president who visited Israel within days of the October 7th attacks. This is a president who rushed additional military articles to Israel and, frankly, provided expertise from our own military to go over there to help them as they thought through their planning and their operation,” he told reporters at the White House.

Kirby continued “this is a president who put American pilots — fighter pilots — in the sky to help shoot down more than 300 missiles and drones fired by Iran in . . . mid-April. So the argument that somehow we’re walking away from Israel, we’re not willing to help them defeat Hamas just doesn’t . . . comport with the facts.”

Matthew Levitt, the director of the Reinhard Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at The Washington Institute, told Fox News Digital, “By default, working arms before hostages—including U.S. hostages—are released, and after Hamas’ bad faith behavior in negotiations, could embolden both Hamas and Hezbollah.”

Hamas has over 100 hostages in its captivity, including Americans. The terrorist mastermind behind Hamas’ massacre of nearly 1,200 people, including over 30 Americans, Yahya Sinwar is believed to be using hostages as human shields to hold off Israeli soldiers seeking to capture him in a tunnel deep below Gaza.

Hamas terrorists in Gaza

Palestinian Hamas terrorists are seen during a military show in the Bani Suheila district on July 20, 2017, in Gaza City, Gaza. A protester at Stanford University with a headband similar to the one worn by Hamas members was seen on an image submitted to the FBI.  (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The State Department did not answer questions about whether Biden’s blockage of offensive weapons to Israel emboldens Hamas and Hezbollah. 

On Thursday, spokesman Matthew Miller said, “What the President made clear is that we have concerns about a potential military operation in Rafah. I don’t think that’s any secret. We’ve been making those concerns known publicly, and we have made those concerns quite clear to the Government of Israel. And as the President noted, there are certain types of military assistance that we will not make available to Israel for use in a campaign in Rafah,” said Miller.

The Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) published a letter from a who’s who of retired U.S. military leaders, criticizing Biden’s arms directive. “Amid surging antisemitism in America and the world, following the largest one-day loss of innocent Jewish life since the Holocaust, U.S. support for the only Jewish state should be clear, unwavering, and not conditioned. The benefits of this partnership for the American people and this important region are many, and too valuable to forsake.”


Bibi, Biden

President Biden in between a photo of an IDF tank and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu (AP, Getty Images)

The letter added: “America must support Israel as it restores its security, shattered on October 7, against Iran and its terrorist proxies in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen that all seek to destroy the Jewish state. These forces are also enemies of the United States and everything we stand for. 

“This Iranian-backed axis of terror, as well as other adversaries and allies around the world, are watching closely to see whether the United States will stand by one of its closest allies fighting in self-defense, even when the going gets tough.”

Richard Goldberg, a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and former National Security Council official, warned, “There’s zero doubt that Iran and Hezbollah are going to escalate the longer this illegitimate embargo drags on. Our shared enemies feed on the perception of space between the United States and Israel, and the projection of weakness and desperation in both capitals.”

Fox News Digital press queries to the White House and Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Prime Minister’s Office were not immediately returned.


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