Latest News 13-05-2024 13:02 17 Views

Republican says Biden has ‘strengthened’ Hamas by withholding aid from Israel: ‘Completely incompetent’

A Republican senator hammered President Biden on Sunday for withholding weapons from Israel, which he claimed has inadvertently ‘strengthened’ the Hamas terror group.

Sen. Pete Ricketts, R-NE, said the Biden administration’s decision to withhold high payload bombs from Israel ‘just demonstrates their incompetence.’ He also compared the current conflict with Hamas to how Biden handled Afghanistan, saying he was ‘absolutely mismanaging this.’

‘I mean, the administration said they had an ironclad friendship with Israel, and now they’re demonstrating that it doesn’t mean too much,’ said Ricketts, also a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, during a segment of FOX Report with Jon Scott. ‘Secretary [Antony] Blinken was talking about how we’ve got to offer them a better way. A better way, like Afghanistan. How well did that work out? He’s looking for a credible plan for protecting civilians, that they wouldn’t know a credible plan if it came up and bit them on the behind. These people are completely incompetent and they’re absolutely mismanaging this.’

The Republican also said the president’s tactic was playing into the hands of terrorists: ‘Hamas was negotiating to come up with a cease fire to return the hostages. And then Biden announces he’s going to withhold weapons. And Hamas is like, well, my hand has just been strengthened. Why would I negotiate now?’

Ricketts’ comment came after Biden urged Israel’s government not to carry out a ground invasion of Gaza’s southern city of Rafah, which is currently home to more than a million Palestinians who fled other parts of the Gaza Strip during Israel’s war with Hamas.

On Israel’s Rafah offensive, the Nebraska Republican claimed the Jewish country was being cautious about avoiding civilian deaths.

‘There’s 4 or 5 [Hamas] battalions left in Rafah. They all have to be destroyed,’ Ricketts said. ‘The leadership needs to be killed. And frankly, Israel is doing more than any nation I can think of as far as trying to avoid civilian casualties.’

Biden’s own threats to withhold offensive aid from Israel has prompted wide criticism, including from the House Oversight Committee, which is launching an investigation to see if the president has violated the law.

— Then-presidential candidate Joe Biden in a 2019 PBS interview

Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., questioned both the decision-making process and the timing of the announcement itself in a letter to President Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan.

He also requested a congressional briefing from the White House National Security Council in addition to communications and other documents related to discussions about pausing any kind of aid to Israel, with a deadline of May 24.

‘The Committee is alarmed by the Biden administration’s willingness to play political games with U.S. taxpayer-funded assistance going to Israel,’ Comer wrote in a letter signed by Republicans on the Oversight Committee. ‘On May 9, 2024, President Biden made public that he would not supply offensive weapons that Israel could use in its offensive on Rafah — the last major Hamas stronghold in Gaza.’

‘Further reporting indicates that the National Security Council actively chose to withhold this information from the public eye for days, in part so that news of the decision would not be known when President Biden delivered a speech touting support for Israel on Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Committee seeks a briefing, as well as documents and information related to this decision, including any legal justification for withholding essential supplies from Israel in its fight against Hamas terrorists who still have Israeli and American hostages.’

Former President Trump and several of his supporters in Congress have accused Biden of initiating a quid pro quo with Israel — conditioning or withholding aid to Israel in order to change its foreign policy. Trump was impeached for threatening to withhold money from Ukraine, although the funding was ultimately not withheld. 

Fox News’ Elizabeth Elkind contributed to this report.

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