- GOP Senator Lindsey Graham is in Israel surveying damage from the recent violence.
- Graham said Israel would ask the US for $1 billion to replenish their Iron Dome security system.
- The security system blocked the vast majority of the thousands of rockets Hamas fired into Israel.
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GOP Senator Lindsey Graham toured Israel to inspect damage from the 11 days of violence with Hamas and said Israel will request $1 billion in aid from the US to replenish their Iron Dome security system.
“There will be a $1 billion request coming to the Pentagon this week from the defense minister to replenish the Iron Dome and a few other things, to upgrade the system,” Graham said at a press conference.
Graham met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
After 11 days of fighting, Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas agreed to a ceasefire on May 20. At least 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, were killed, with nearly 2,000 people in Gaza injured. At least 12 people in Israel were also killed, including two children and a soldier.
In their meeting, Netanyahu told Graham: “There is no person who has done more for Israel than you,” The Jerusalem Post reported.
Israeli airstrikes destroyed residential buildings and civilian centers, including a building that housed news outlets like the Associated Press. Hamas launched thousands of missiles indiscriminately into Israel, the vast majority blocked by Israel’s defense system.
“This was the largest sustained assault in maybe history and the Iron Dome performed incredibly well, saving thousands of Israeli lives and tens of thousands of Palestinian lives,” Graham said. “I would imagine that the administration will say yes to this request and it will sail through Congress. There has been a big dust-up over the last engagement between Hamas and Israel in the United States, but I’m here to tell you that there is a wide and deep support for Israel among the Democratic party.”
In a video posted on Twitter, Graham said the more Israel is attacked, the more aid the US will send it.
“The more people try to destroy Israel, the more Hamas tries to destroy Israel, the more Iran tries to destroy Israel, the more aid that the United States will provide Israel to defend itself,” Graham said.
In another set of tweets, Graham said the “American Left” did not properly understand the “nature” of the conflict between Israel and Hamas. He said the issue is that Hamas, like Hezbollah in Lebanon, are Iranian-backed terror groups that wish “to destroy the Jewish state – not because of @IsraeliPM Netanyahu – but because of their religion.”
“If you don’t understand this, you’re making the biggest mistake since Neville Chamberlin’s Munich Agreement with Hitler. I urge the Middle and Left of Israeli politics to set the American Left straight as to the true nature of this conflict while we still have time,” Graham wrote.
A political coalition was recently formed between right-wing and centrist parties in Israel in an effort to unseat Netanyahu.
Some Democrats were critical of Israel’s airstrikes on the Gaza strip and moved to block a $735 million sale of precision-guided weapons at the height of the conflict. The arms sale was approved by Biden’s administration prior to the start of fighting.
Democrats, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, said the US had been sending billions of dollars in weaponry to Israel for decades “without ever requiring them to respect basic Palestinian rights.”
Ocasio-Cortez said the funding made the US is a direct contributor to “the death, displacement, and disenfranchisement of millions.”