Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) slammed progressive “Squad” member Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) over a tweet shared earlier this week accusing Israel of committing an “act of terrorism” in response to the reignited escalating violence occurring in the Middle East.
Members of the progressive “Squad” echoed similar sentiments in condemning Israel, lamenting the Jewish state as “inhumane” while calling for a shift in U.S policy in “condition[ing] the aid” sent to Israel.
“Israeli airstrikes killing civilians in Gaza is an act of terrorism. Palestinians deserve protection. Unlike Israel, missile defense programs, such as Iron Dome don’t exist to protect Palestinian civilians. It’s unconscionable to not condemn these attacks on the week of Eid,” Omar tweeted Monday following reports from The Gaza Ministry of Health reporting that 20 Palestinians, including 9 children, were killed by Israeli airstrikes.
Rubio was asked by Fox News’s Brian Kilmeade Wednesday night whether if Omar’s tweet was right to claim that Iron Dome, Israel missile defense program doesn’t protect Palestinians from “Israeli airstrikes killing civilians in Gaza,” and the Jewish state right to defense was “an act of terrorism.”
“She’s out of her mind when she put that there,” Rubio said in response on Fox News Primetime. “Number one, the Iron Dome wouldn’t need to exist if it wasn’t for Hamas and Hezbollah. The reason it exists is because these terrorists have rockets and they use it to try to kill Israelis. That’s the reason why it exists.”
“Number two is the only response that you seen from Israel is in response to these attacks, and they live in a very tough neighborhood, and they made it abundantly clear if you hit us we’re going to hit you back five times harder, and Hamas knows that. This is a plan. They do this knowing there’s going to be a response, knowing that innocents are going to be killed and civilians that are going to be killed, they know it’s going to happen. And they deliberately wanted to happen so that they can get tweets like that, and people around the world, to take up their cause,” Rubio added.
Hamas, a terrorist organization, designated by the United States and other Islamic jihadist militants, bombarded multiple locations in Israel with rockets, saying they launched the attacks into the Jewish state in response to “crimes and aggression” following an escalation in tensions in recent weeks over eviction plan in east Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Hamas has taken credit for the outgoing rocket fire, admitting it has launched over 1,000 rockets in the last 6 days that have overwhelmed Israel’s Iron Dome rocket defense system.
Rubio, along with 43 Republican Senators, wrote a letter to President Joe Biden Tuesday, calling on him to stand with Israel and immediately end negotiations with Iran and emphasize that sanctions relief will not be provided. The Senators highlighted in the letter the current ongoing negotiations with Iran to return to the disastrous Iran nuclear pact by lifting sanctions imposed by the Trump administration in order to keep Tehran engaged in the talks is potentially contributing to “Hamas and other terrorist organizations who attack Americans and our allies.”
“As you know, Palestinian terrorist groups launched more than 1,000 rockets targeting Israel over the last few days alone. This includes the first rockets aimed at Jerusalem since 2014,” the Senators letter reads. “The United States designated Hamas as a terrorist organization in 1997 and as such, is prohibited from providing any funds to Hamas. Iran, however, is a longtime financial and material supporter of Hamas.”
“The United States engaging in active negotiations with Iran and potentially providing billions of dollars in sanctions relief will no doubt contribute to Iran’s support of Hamas and other terrorist organizations who attack Americans and our allies. We call on you to immediately end negotiations with Iran and make clear that sanctions relief will not be provided. The United States must not do anything to enrich Israel’s enemies, such as by offering sanctions relief to a regime that seeks to destroy Israel. As a longtime friend of the Jewish state, we also urge you to unequivocally support Israel’s right to defend itself against any and all terrorist attacks,” the letter adds.
This is not the first time Omar has tweeted inflammatory comments on Israel, as her own party refusing to condemn the Minnesota Democrat for her slew of past anti-Semitic comments since being elected to Congress in 2018. In a follow-up tweet, Omar slammed Republicans for saying that Israel has the right to defend itself, arguing they have “silent” on Palestinians “justice or peace.”
“Many will tell you Israel has a right to defend itself, to safety and security, but are silent on whether Palestinians have those rights too,” Omar tweeted in a second tweet. “Until we can defend the rights of Palestinians just as we do Israelis, we have no leg to stand on when it comes to justice or peace.”