FederalCruz, Cornyn Defend Israel After Biden Tells Netanyahu He Expects ‘Significant De-Escalation’

Ted Cruz said Joe Biden is “attacking and belittling” Israel as the country faces bombardment from Hamas, a terrorist organization.
May 20, 2021
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In a press conference on Wednesday, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and John Cornyn (R-TX) defended Israel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after President Joe Biden seemed to place the onus on Netanyahu to expedite a ceasefire with Hamas, which the U.S. has designated as a foreign terrorist organization since 1997.

Israel reportedly approved a ceasefire on Thursday afternoon, which is to take effect at 2:00 a.m. local time.

“President Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu today. The two leaders had a detailed discussion on the state of events in Gaza, Israel’s progress in degrading the capabilities of Hamas and other terrorist elements, and ongoing diplomatic efforts by regional governments and the United States,” the White House said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The President conveyed to the Prime Minister that he expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire.”

The White House also said days earlier that Biden, in conversations with Netanyahu, had “reaffirmed his strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket attacks from Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza.” 

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The president had also “expressed his support for steps to enable the Palestinian people to enjoy the dignity, security, freedom, and economic opportunity that they deserve and affirmed his support for a two-state solution.”

At the press event, Cruz praised former President Trump for moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and withdrawing the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal, which he said “set the stage” for the Abraham Accords, a series of peace agreements between Israel and other middle eastern countries.

“[T]here is no moral equivalency between terrorists murdering innocent civilians and a sovereign nation defending itself against those terrorists,” Cruz said. 

The senator later added, “Instead of attacking and belittling and undermining the nation of Israel, President Biden ought to be standing with Israel and replenishing the Iron Dome munitions.” The Iron Dome is Israel’s aerial defense system.

Cornyn echoed support for Israel and noted that Hamas is backed by Iran, which he called the “foremost state sponsor of terrorism.” The U.S. has designated Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1984.

“There’s one way that Hamas could stop this conflict and that is to lay down its arms. But if Israel decided to lay down its arms, there would be no more Israel,” Cornyn said.

Some Democrats, such as Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-5) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI-13), have accused Israeli authorities of injustices against Palestinians and perpetuating an “apartheid” state. 

“The right of Palestinians and all people yearning for freedom and self-determination will not be ignored and no level of harassment will silence me or the millions of people demanding peace and justice,” Omar wrote on social media, referencing political advertisements against her and others by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Democrats have supported the “two-state solution,” which would entail Israel ceding additional land to Palestinians for the formation of a sovereign Palestinian nation. Hamas currently controls Gaza, a strip of land on the Mediterranian Sea enveloped by Israel. The Gaza Strip is about 140 square miles, which is roughly one-tenth of the size of Rhode Island. 

According to Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the country had weathered 4,000 rockets from Gaza in the 10 days preceding Wednesday. The IDF maintains that they do everything in their power to avoid civilian casualties while targeting Hamas, which uses human shields to protect their targets.

In a video posted this week to the Israeli military’s social media pages, the IDF remarked, “No other country would be expected to tolerate 100, 1,000, 2,900-plus [or] any rockets launched on their civilians. So don’t tolerate it for Israel either.”

In 2018, the United Nations rejected a resolution offered by the U.S. to condemn Hamas for “inciting violence, thereby putting civilians at risk.” While there were 87 votes for the resolution, 58 against, and only 32 abstentions, member states had made a parliamentary decision beforehand requiring a two-thirds vote for the resolution’s passage.

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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan. He has coached high school competitive speech and debate and has also been involved in community theater and politics. A native Texan, Hayden served as a delegate at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. He is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University. In his free time, Hayden is known to take walks around the neighborhood while listening to random music on Spotify.