US Sen Cruz: Biden showed ‘weakness’, emboldened Hamas
One of four prominent Republicans in Israel in the aftermath of the conflict, Cruz told The Associated Press in an interview that the Democratic president’s policies, including a call for Israel to end the war, had “emboldened The militant leaders of Hamas. He said the United States owes the Palestinians no humanitarian aid as long as there is a risk that this money will flow to Hamas.
Cruz also refused to rule out another presidential bid in 2024, keeping alive the prospect of yet another Republican brawl for the party’s presidential nomination – and possibly rematch with former President Donald Trump.
Fighting erupted on May 10 when Hamas launched a barrage of rockets into Jerusalem after weeks of protests and clashes over Israel’s policing of a prominent holy site.
Before the ceasefire took effect on May 21, Hamas had fired more than 4,000 rockets at Israeli towns, while Israeli warplanes struck some 1,000 targets in Gaza. More than 250 people have been killed, the vast majority of them Palestinians living in the seaside enclave ruled by Hamas. Israel blames Hamas for the heavy civilian casualties because Hamas launches attacks from residential areas.
Throughout the fighting, Biden and many other world leaders have argued that Israel has the right to defend itself even as concerns – and protests in places like Turkey, Pakistan and Britain – escalated. about the crippling use of force directed against Gaza.
Cruz’s remarks were a radical departure from a once customary practice of refraining from talking about domestic politics abroad, especially about the sitting US Commander-in-Chief.
At least two of the four U.S. Republicans visiting Israel this week have apparent presidential ambitions – and all are seeking the support of pro-Israel evangelical voters who form a vital part of the GOP base.
Besides Cruz, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who also served as Trump’s CIA director, tweeted on Sunday that he was in Tel Aviv to attend Mossad chief Yossi Cohen’s retirement party.
“Great to be with good friends in Tel Aviv!” Pompeo tweeted.
Senator Lindsay Graham also toured the damage caused by the rocket fire and met with Israeli leaders.
“No one has done more for Israel than you, Senator Lindsey Graham,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday. Graham, standing next to him, held up a sign saying, “More for Israel.” In a later tweet, he explained, “help protect and defend against Hamas rocket attacks.” On Tuesday, Graham will tour the rocket damage in Israel, he said in a press release.
Netanyahu has enjoyed a warm relationship with Trump, alienating many segments of the Democratic Party. His relationship with Biden has been cordial, but fresher.
Cruz and Senator Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., Visited the rubble in Ashkelon where a rocket fired by Hamas struck an apartment and killed the caregiver of an older woman. Cruz tweeted photos.
Hagerty, who was Trump’s ambassador to Japan, also criticized the various steps Biden took to reverse Trump’s policies. Biden, for example, pledged some $ 360 million in aid to the Palestinians, including money to help repair the damage from the war in Gaza. Trump has cut almost all US aid to the Palestinians.
“Any money that goes to the Gaza Strip that is cited for infrastructure can be easily diverted by Hamas,” Hagerty said, sitting next to Cruz.
Where Hagerty was a diplomat, Cruz was frank. “Appeasing terrorists does not produce peace,” he said of Biden.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
When asked if he would rule out running for president, Cruz hesitated, responding that the 2016 campaign was “the funniest I have ever had in my life.”