As tensions escalate in the Middle East due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, Republican Senators are taking aim at the Biden administration’s recent $6 billion deal with Iran, suggesting it may have inadvertently supported Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel.
The deal, finalized just last month, allowed for the release of Iran’s frozen assets held in a South Korean bank, transferring them to accounts in Qatar. The administration has been steadfast in its assurance that these funds are strictly earmarked for humanitarian purposes and that the United States will oversee their utilization. As of now, there is no evidence to suggest that any of the $6 billion has left the Qatari account.
However, Hamas spokesperson Ghazi Hamad disclosed to the BBC that they had received support from Iran for their attacks, which commenced on a fateful Saturday. Furthermore, a Wall Street Journal report published on Sunday indicated that Hamas and Hezbollah played a role in planning the attack alongside Iran.
In response to these developments, Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee took to social media, stating, “If the funds have not been released to Iran, President Biden should immediately void the agreement and freeze the $6 billion ransom payment.”
The conflict has seen thousands of rockets launched into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip, with Hamas terrorists initiating “Operation Al-Aqsa Storm” and urging Palestinians from Jerusalem to Israel to target Israelis.
Senator Rick Scott of Florida expressed his unwavering support for Israel, declaring, “There can be no tolerance for calls of de-escalation. Israel is at war, and I pray that its forces destroy every last terrorist thug responsible for these atrocities. The United States will stand strongly with Israel as it defends its citizens and homeland.”
In contrast to the Republican Senators, progressive “Squad” members, Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar called for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas and condemned the attacks. Their stance garnered backlash from Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who asserted, “Hamas exists for one reason alone: to wipe out the Jewish state of Israel. So Israel has only one option in response to yesterday’s barbaric attack, the permanent elimination of Hamas.”
Following the attack, Israel officially declared war on Hamas, with President Biden affirming Israel’s right to self-defense. The Pentagon promptly provided assistance to the Israel Defense Forces over the weekend.
Senator Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, emphasized the fungibility of money, suggesting that Iran’s lax sanctions enforcement and waivers had enabled it to support terrorist proxies targeting Israeli civilians and U.S. personnel.
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas underscored the importance of supporting Israel’s “absolute right to self-defense.”
Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa echoed these sentiments, warning against appeasing Iran and its terror proxies, which she argued sought to harm American allies and friends.
As the Israel-Hamas conflict continues to unfold, Republican Senators are intensifying their scrutiny of the Iran deal, emphasizing their commitment to supporting Israel in its efforts to defend itself amidst the ongoing turmoil.