Biden administrator’s foreign policy “emboldened Iran and its proxies like Hamas”
Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) attributed much of the blame for the recent conflict between Israel and Gaza to the policies of the Biden administration in the Middle East, in an interview with Jewish initiate Wednesday.
Hagerty, who returned from a multi-day trip to Israel on Wednesday morning, said he had visited the region to “show my unwavering support for Israel.”
The Tennessee senator called the recent conflict a “test of the will of the Biden administration” on behalf of Iran and its proxies.
“This attack of violence and terrorism has been encouraged by the political positions of the Biden administration because their embrace of Iran has encouraged Iran and its proxies like Hamas to step up and test this administration,” a- he declared. “I think the Biden administration has put us in great danger by reconnecting with the Iranians… I think it puts the whole region in danger.”
Hagerty’s comments contrast sharply with those of Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who also visited the region this week. Graham argued on Tuesday that most Democrats, including Biden, are strongly pro-Israel.
“You have to watch how they vote. It’s hard to know what’s in a person’s heart… When they vote in a way that’s not favorable, I think it sends a really bad message, ”Hagerty said, before d ‘add that his Tennessee voters are pro-Israel regardless of their party affiliation.
Hagerty confirmed that Israeli leaders told him and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), with whom Hagerty was traveling, that they planned to seek $ 1 billion in additional funding from the United States to resupply and modernize. Iron Dome, as first announced by Graham. Tuesday. Hagerty declined to say whether he expects – as Graham does – that Biden and the Democrats in Congress will back the request.
“If every member of Congress benefited from what Senators Graham, Cruz and I saw, in terms of the effectiveness of the Iron Dome… I think they would support that,” Hagerty said.
While in Israel, Hagerty met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat and Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, as well as members of the Israel Defense Forces and the business community. tank leaders.
Speaking to JI less than two hours after leaders of Israel’s opposition parties announced that they had agreed to form a new government, paving the way for Netanyahu’s ouster, Hagerty predicted that U.S.- Israeli women would not be affected by the potential change of government.
“It shouldn’t change at all. Israel remains our ally. It has been around since 1948 and will continue with our ally, ”said Hagerty. “I look forward to working with Israel’s leaders, whoever they are, over the coming year… I have to believe that the strategic interests remain the same.
Hagerty did not visit the Palestinian territories or meet with Palestinian leaders during his trip. He told JI that “the Palestinian leadership has issues to deal with,” highlighting Hamas’s control over Gaza and the Palestinian Authority’s continued payments to the families of terrorists.
“I think we want to be engaged with the Palestinian people, but the PA and Hamas are both highly contested in terms of the lack of leadership there and the resulting terrorism,” he said. . “My most important point right now is that we show our solidarity with Israel. “
Hagerty said that to advance permanent peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the United States should continue to work to facilitate regional economic cooperation through agreements, referring to the Abraham accords of last year. Hagerty also suggested that the United States should restrict aid to the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
“[The Palestinian Authority] have moved away from the vision of prosperity presented to them. They were presented with a plan that would have created a million jobs for the Palestinian people, ”Hagerty said. “That’s why it shocks me that the Biden administration is coming back, instinctively … to relaunch aid to the PA without preconditions, to revive aid to UNRWA without preconditions. “
“We know that we have to build economic prosperity in the region,” Hagerty continued, “and when the PA sees that it is in its best interests, which it should be, when the Palestinian people push them into this. direction, hopefully they find their way to the bargaining table.