TED Cruz has accused Joe Biden of "appeasing terrorists" and shared harrowing images of Israeli homes destroyed by Hamas airstrikes.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Republicans Cruz, Lindsey Graham, and Bill Hagerty arrived in Israel on Sunday after a ceasefire was agreed to end the 11-day missile blitz with Hamas on May 21.
Biden had touted his role in the Israel and Hamas ceasefire and vowed to help build a stronger "Iron Dome" defense – but Cruz blasted Biden during his trip.
“The longer Joe Biden shows weakness to Hamas or Hezbollah or Iran, the more you’re going to see terrorist attacks escalating," Cruz told the Associated Press. “Appeasing terrorists doesn’t produce peace."
Usually, it is customary for American politicians not to discuss domestic politics or the sitting president while visiting overseas.
On Monday, Cruz was given a tour around Israel’s Iron Dome defense system and saw firsthand the destruction in the city of Ashkelon, which is just eight miles away from the Gaza Strip border.
The Texas Republican also tweeted devastating pictures of one elderly Ashkelon resident's home destroyed in an airstrike, describing it as "heartbreaking."
"Countless times, I’ve seen a Mezuzah hanging on a door frame,” Cruz wrote, noting that the woman's caretaker was killed in the rocket carnage. “This is the first time I’ve seen one on a home bombed by terrorists.”
In another tweet, the old woman’s walker could be seen amongst the rubble and debris.
Hagerty also blamed the Biden administration for giving around $360million in aid to the Palestinians to help repair war-worn Gaza.
“Any monies that go to the Gaza Strip that are quote-intended for infrastructure can be easily diverted by Hamas,” Hagerty said.
Hamas fired over 4,000 rockets at Israel, while Israeli airstrikes struck 1,000 targets in Gaza as the escalating conflict killed around 300 people– the majority of which were Palestinians in Gaza.
Israeli officials say there is such a high Palestinian death toll because Hamas attacks from civilian areas, while their army claims the Palestinian civilians killed are actually militants.
Graham of South Carolina met with Prime Minister Benjamin Nenanyahu and was praised by the Israeli leader on Twitter.
“There is no person who has done more for Israel than him,” Netanyahu said.
“I would like to thank him for everything he has done over the years on Israel’s defense and security issues, as well as on the Iranian issue.
"Lindsey is a devoted friend and an excellent ally. Welcome to Israel!” he added, as the GOP senator held up a “More for Israel” sign.
While Biden recently applauded the ceasefire and spoke about how to keep people in both Israel and Palestine safe, he also said the US backs Israel's decision to respond to terrorism threats.
"In my conversation with President Netanyahu, I commended him for the decision to bring the current hostilities to a close in less than 11 days.
"I also emphasized what I have said throughout this conflict: The United States fully supports Israel's right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks from Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist groups that have taken the lives of innocent civilians in Israel."
The president also pledged to help Israel build back up its Iron Dome defense system, pointing out that the US helped develop it.
"I assured him my full support to replenish Israel's Iron Dome system to ensure its defenses and security in the future," Biden said.
The agreement between Israel and Hama was brokered by Egypt.
The fighting began May 10, when Hamas militants in Gaza fired long-range rockets toward Jerusalem after clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
President Netanyahu's security cabinet approved the truce on the basis of what one official reportedly called "quiet in exchange for quiet."
Since the fighting began, health officials in Gaza say at least 232 Palestinians – including 65 children – have been killed and more than 1,900 wounded in aerial bombardments.
Israel says it has killed at least 160 combatants in Gaza.
Authorities initially put the death toll in Israel at 12, with hundreds of people treated for injuries in rocket attacks that have caused panic and sent people rushing into shelters.
Source: Read Full Article