Defiant Netanyahu says Israel 'will fight with fingernails' after Biden's warning on arms shipment

Blinken is likely to submit a "highly critical report" on Israel to the Congress

ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS/BIDEN U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli war cabinet, as he visits Israel amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel, October 18, 2023 | Reuters

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hit out at the US and its decision to stall the supply of arms, stating that Israelis are ready to fight with their "fingernails" if necessary. 

US President Joe Biden's warning that he would cut off the supply of weapons to Israel if it moves ahead with a full-scale assault on Rafah has sown confusion and anger in Israel. In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Biden said: " I made it clear that if they go into Rafah they haven't gone in Rafah yet 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."

To this, a defiant Netanyahu said that if Israel "has to stand alone, we will stand alone."

"During the War of Independence 76 years ago, we were few against many," he said. "We had no weapons, there was an arms embargo on Israel, but with the strength of the soul, the bravery and the unity within us — we won." 

"Today we are much stronger," Netanyahu continued. "We are determined and we are united to defeat our enemy and those who seek to destroy us… If we need to, we will fight with our fingernails. But we have much more than fingernails."

He, however, expressed hope that the countries can tide over differences. "We often had our agreements but we've had our disagreements. We've been able to overcome them," Netanyahu said on the "Dr. Phil Primetime" show."I hope we can overcome them now, but we will do what we have to do to protect our country," he said. 

The US decision was met with disappointment and frustration in Israel, with many expressing apprehensions about the decision and its far-reaching consequences.  

Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, said the U.S. pause was "a very disappointing decision, even frustrating." He told Israeli local media that the move stemmed from pressure Biden felt from both Congress and U.S. college campus protests.

Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Israel Katz took to X to express his angst. "Israel will continue to fight Hamas until its destruction," Katz posted, adding that "there is no just war like this one."

Blinken's report

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will submit to Congress on Friday a highly critical report about Israel's conduct in Gaza. In the report, Blinken will likely list a series of incidents that took place in Gaza and note that they raised serious concerns about violations of international law by Israel, Axion quoted three unnamed US officials.

However, the report will stop short of concluding that Israel has violated the terms for its use of U.S. weapons.

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