Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., on Tuesday called for an immediate end of U.S. aid to Palestinians in Gaza, arguing the aid inevitably falls into the hands of Hamas.
Blackburn made the call in a public statement as President Biden prepares to travel to Israel for the first time since Hamas’ Oct. 7 terror attack. News of Biden’s trip arrived only after Israel agreed to develop a humanitarian aid plan for Gaza.
“The USA should not be placing conditions on our support for Israel because of demands from the ‘Squad.’ Humanitarian aid repeatedly ends up in the hands of Hamas terrorists who use it to build rockets & kill more Israelis. We should immediately halt U.S. aid for the Palestinians,” Blackburn said.
Biden’s administration has publicly offered its full support for Israel’s right to defend itself and retaliate against Hamas. Nevertheless, Biden has said it would be a “mistake” for Israel to occupy Gaza, and the U.S. has repeatedly stated that the conflict must minimize suffering in Gaza.
International aid for Gaza is currently blocked at the Egypt-Gaza border, with the Egyptian government keeping the Rafah connection closed. Egypt and other nearby Arab nations have repeatedly refused to accept any Gazan refugees.
Meanwhile, the Israeli military has warned Gaza residents to move south as the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) prepare for a ground operation in the north. There were reports over the weekend of Hamas forces delaying or outright blocking residents from fleeing northern Gaza.
Israel has yet to launch a full-scale invasion of the Gaza Strip and has instead utilized thousands of air strikes on Hamas positions. A prime objective for the IDF is the assassination of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar.
Referred to by Israel as the “Butcher of Khan Younis” for his violent and cruel torture methods against his enemies, both Israeli and Palestinian, Sinwar, 60, is suspected of being behind the massacre of Israeli civilians carried out by thousands of Hamas militants on Oct. 7.
Hamas is also holding nearly 200 people hostage in Gaza, and rescuing them is also a top priority. American citizens are believed to be among the hostages.