EXCLUSIVE – United States Sen. Josh Hawley sat down with The Heartlander on Thursday to discuss the current issues in the Middle East and the continued warfare between Israel and Palestinians.
Conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians is not uncommon over the last 80 years . Recently, the conflict was reignited when Hamas launched rockets toward civilians in Israel.
Hamas, a recognized terrorist organization by the U.S. government since 1997, is considered by many to be the main instigator as they control the majority of military operations in the Gaza Strip. The clash has resulted in numerous missile exchanges between Israel and Gaza, and is still an ongoing battle.
Hawley, a fervent supporter of Israel, believes the blame for the conflict should be placed on Hamas and that the United States should stand with Israel.
“Hamas is a terrorist organization, we have been clear about that,” Hawley told The Heartlander. “I think we need to be crystal clear right now that we stand with Israel. There is no moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas. So we’ve got to stand with the right of Israel to defend itself, the right of Israel to defend its own borders, and above all to defend its own people.”
The Senator also believes that President Joe Biden and his Administration have “mishandled” the conflict and their response to the recent missile exchanges was “all over the map.”
“You know [Biden] is somebody who clearly does not want to have a very good relationship with Israel,” Hawley said. “When Biden did intervene, it was ‘depress Israel to unilaterally stop fighting.’ Remember, Israel is defending itself here – Hamas are terrorists. So I think the president has mishandled this. I think that he has unnecessarily isolated Israel.”
Hawley has applauded the Trump Administration’s efforts to bring peace to the Middle East and believes the Biden Administration should follow suit.
“We need to continue the work the Trump Administration started and had huge success with, which was getting neighboring nations and countries to recognize Israel as a sovereign state,” the Senator said, referencing the Abraham Accords in August of 2020.
The Abraham Accords are a joint statement between the United States, Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that normalizes relations between the countries. It was the first public statement of such between Israel and an Arab country since that of Jordan in 1994.
“He actually made it clear that the United States was going to side with Israel – when he did that, other nations in the region said, ‘Well, okay. Maybe it’s time that we also recognize Israel. Maybe it’s time we made our peace with Israel.’” Hawley said. “That’s what we want to encourage. We want there to be a peace in that region that is founded on respect for the state of Israel and respect for their right to exist and govern themselves.”
Amid the ongoing battles between the two groups, Hawley joined 19 of his colleagues on Tuesday in announcing a resolution condemning the attacks on Israel by Hamas, calling the latter “an Iranian-backed and funded terrorist organization.”
Additionally, Hawley announced he joined 43 of his Republican colleagues last week in sending a letter to the President urging him to stand with Israel and not to provide Iran with sanctions relief.
“While Israel remains under attack from Iranian-backed terrorists, the Biden Administration is negotiating and potentially offering sanctions relief to Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism,” the announcement read.
“It has been a bipartisan tradition in this country to support Israel and that’s why I’m so worried about today’s Democratic party and Joe Biden,” Hawley said. “They appear to be turning their back on that bipartisan tradition, and that’d be a big mistake.