Republicans threaten Biden with impeachment and condemnation over Israel ammunitions hold

Israel's invasion of Rafah this week arrived despite warnings from President Joe Biden and Hamas accepting a ceasefire proposal

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and other Republicans condemn US President Joe Biden's decision to pause delivery of weapons to Israel during a press conference at the US Capitol in Washington. EPA
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Republican backlash mounted on Friday against US President Joe Biden over a potential halt on ammunitions transfers to Israel amid its expanding operations in Rafah, with a resolution of condemnation and even threats of impeachment.

Mr Biden this week issued his strongest warnings yet against Israel, telling CNN that he would block the delivery of weapons that could be used in Rafah.

The Pentagon confirmed that it has delayed a shipment of “high-payload munitions” to Israel, saying it must do more to protect civilians in the southern Gaza city.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell joined dozens of Senate Republicans, alongside ranking member of the Armed Services Committee Roger Wicker, in a resolution that condemns an ammunition shipment pause and demands the Biden administration fulfil Israel's military aid requests.

Israel's assault on Gaza has killed nearly 35,000 Palestinians and wounded about 80,000, most of them civilians, according to local health authorities.

Despite Hamas accepting a ceasefire proposal, Israel is continuing its incursion into Rafah, where more than a million Palestinians have sought shelter, and has taken control of the Gaza side of the border crossing.

The move has sent shock waves throughout Washington.

The Republican Senate resolution also comes after a far-right congressman in the House of Representatives, Cory Mills, drafted an impeachment article against Mr Biden over his remarks.

Mr Mills is accusing the US President of forcing Israel into a “quid pro quo” by leveraging aid against the Israeli government's actions in Gaza.

“The House has no choice but to impeach President ‘Quid Pro Joe’ Biden,” Mr Mills said in a Thursday statement.

That accusation is a jab at congressional Democrats, who impeached former president Donald Trump over accusations that he had attempted to engage in a “quid pro quo” deal with Ukraine to get compromising information on the Biden family.

That case is markedly different from Mr Biden's actions on Israel, however.

Mr Trump was impeached on accusations of scheming to benefit himself politically, while Mr Biden is withholding the aid out of concern over Israel's conduct in the Gaza Strip and an invasion he has repeatedly warned against.

Some Republicans claim, however, that Mr Biden's policy shift is a bid to win back pro-ceasefire voters, who have mounted a substantial protest against US support for Israel through the “vote uncommitted” movement.

Senator Susan Collins, a more centrist Republican, had earlier charged that the “unilateral” decision by the administration was in defiance of Congress, which recently passed billions more in funding for the Israeli military.

US support for Israel has, with the help of far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, become increasingly politicised throughout the war in Gaza.

Republicans have been unified and vocal in their unfettered support of Israel, including amid this week's developments in Rafah.

There is a small but growing number of pro-ceasefire Democratic voices in Congress, though the party is still largely pro-Israel.

A majority of the caucus votes in favour of pro-Israel policies, including the $26 billion in extra funds passed recently by Congress.

But Mr Netanyahu has helped to deepen partisan divisions, even speaking exclusively to Republicans in a closed-door virtual lunch earlier this year.

Updated: May 10, 2024, 7:07 PM