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US Sen. Graham's Loud Signal to Netanyahu: Do Whatever You Want

March 28, 2024 (EIRNS)—In the midst of the Biden administration yesterday trying to pressure and cajole Israeli Prime MInister Benjamin Netanyahu back to some level of collaboration (on a supposed pathway to destroy Hamas without undue destruction of the Palestinian civilians huddled in Rafah), U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) went to Israel like the proverbial bull in a china shop. Graham met yesterday with Netanyahu and War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz, and spoke by phone with IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi. Afterwards, his performance before reporters made it clear that he was doing his best to convey to Netanyahu’s government that they need not moderate their position on anything. He spoke prior to Netanyahu agreeing with Washington, later in the day, to reschedule the meeting he had canceled two days earlier.

Graham opened by saying that the tension between Netanyahu and the Biden White House “is not as bad as it seems. I know it seems bad, but I’m there on the ground. There’s a lot of common view in the Senate that Israel has to destroy Hamas militarily.” Further, the difference over the March 25 UN Security Council ceasefire resolution “will be behind us soon.” He then agreed with Netanyahu’s position that Israel needn’t pay attention to the ceasefire matter. (Evidently, Hamas is to trust Israel will stop shooting after the hostages are released.) “Israel,” said Graham, “cannot afford to let Hamas or anyone else know that there will be a pause in fighting for 30 seconds without the hostages being released.”

The Times of Israel asked Graham whether the White House might slow down arms deliveries, which prompted Graham to issue a threat: “[T]here would be a violent reaction in the Congress if there was a whiff of any suggestion that we’re slowing down arms to Israel when it’s in a fight for its very existence.” Then he became unhinged at the suggestion that Israel was complicit in delaying sufficient aid getting into Gaza. Such accusations are “bullshit…. You’re talking about an accusation that is just a blood libel.”

He explained: “Never in the history of warfare have I seen such an effort by one of the protagonists in a war to lessen the effect on the population of the other side.” Apparently, the former Judge Advocate General (JAG) military lawyer doesn’t believe there are any rules regarding treatment of civilians under one’s control during wartime. “The Israeli military and government, in my view, are making incredible efforts in a time of war to make sure that innocent Palestinians can have the basics of life. I know it is miserable in Gaza. I’m sure it is. But the food is flowing. Healthcare is flowing the best it can.”

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