JERUSALEM (AP) — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz on Monday accused President Joe Biden of being smooth on Israel’s foes and alluring additional violence throughout a lethal 11-day conflict that left Israelis rattled and turned components of the Gaza Strip to rubble.
Considered one of 4 distinguished Republicans in Israel within the battle’s aftermath, Cruz informed The Related Press in an interview that the Democratic president’s insurance policies, together with a name for Israel to wind down the conflict, had “emboldened” Hamas’ militant rulers. He mentioned the U.S. owes Palestinians no humanitarian help so long as there is a hazard of that cash flowing to Hamas.
“The longer Joe Biden reveals weak point to Hamas or Hezbollah or Iran, the extra you’re going to see terrorist assaults escalating,” Cruz mentioned after a day of touring Israel’s Iron Dome rocket-defense system and and viewing injury in Ashkelon.
Cruz additionally refused to rule out one other run for president in 2024, retaining alive the prospect of a brand new Republican brawl for the get together’s presidential nomination — and maybe a rematch with former President Donald Trump.
The combating erupted Might 10 when Hamas launched a barrage of rockets at Jerusalem after weeks of protests and clashes over Israel’s policing of a flashpoint holy website.
Earlier than the cease-fire took impact Might 21, Hamas had fired over 4,000 rockets towards Israeli cities, whereas Israeli warplanes struck some 1,000 targets in Gaza. Greater than 250 folks had been killed, the overwhelming majority of them Palestinians residing within the seaside enclave dominated by Hamas. Israel blames Hamas for the heavy civilian casualties as a result of Hamas launches assaults from residential areas.
All through the combating, Biden and plenty of different world leaders maintained that Israel has a proper to defend itself at the same time as concern — and protests in locations like Turkey, Pakistan and Britain — mounted over the crippling use of power leveled at Gaza.
Cruz’s remarks had been a stark departure from a once-customary apply of refraining from speaking home politics whereas abroad, notably in regards to the sitting U.S. commander in chief.
A minimum of two of the 4 American Republicans visiting Israel this week have obvious presidential ambitions — and all are in sizzling pursuit of help from pro-Israel evangelical voters that kind a core a part of the GOP’s base.
Apart from Cruz, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who additionally served as Trump’s CIA director, tweeted Sunday that he was in Tel Aviv attending the retirement get together of Mossad chief Yossi Cohen.
“Nice to be with good mates in Tel Aviv!” Pompeo tweeted.
Sen. Lindsay Graham was additionally touring injury brought on by rocket fireplace and assembly with Israeli leaders.
“Nobody has executed extra for Israel than you, Sen. Lindsey Graham,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mentioned Monday. Graham, standing subsequent to him, held up an indication that mentioned, “Extra for Israel.” In a tweet later, he defined, to “assist defend and defend from Hamas rocket assaults.” On Tuesday, Graham will tour rocket injury in Israel, he mentioned in a press launch.
Netanyahu loved heat relations with Trump, alienating many segments of the Democratic Social gathering. His relations with Biden have been cordial, however cooler.
Cruz and Sen. Invoice Hagerty, R-Tenn., toured the rubble in Ashkelon the place a Hamas-fired rocket hit an condominium and killed the caregiver of an older girl. Cruz tweeted images.
Hagerty, who was Trump’s ambassador to Japan, additionally criticized the varied steps taken by Biden to reverse Trump’s insurance policies. Biden, for example, has pledged some $360 million in help to the Palestinians, together with cash to assist restore conflict injury in Gaza. Trump lower off practically all U.S. help to the Palestinians.
“Any monies that go to the Gaza Strip which are quote, meant for infrastructure, might be simply diverted by Hamas,” Hagerty, seated subsequent to Cruz, mentioned.
The place Hagerty was diplomatic, Cruz was blunt. “Appeasing terrorists would not produce peace,” he mentioned of Biden.
The White Home didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
Requested whether or not he’d rule out operating for president, Cruz demurred, replying that the 2016 marketing campaign was “probably the most enjoyable I’ve ever had in my life.”