Fetterman on support for Rafah capture: 'I follow Israel on that'

AP23301669985336 e1707570844444

Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) on Tuesday doubled down on his support for Israel shortly after the nation’s forces seized control of Gaza’s Rafah border crossing, where more than 1 million civilians are being housed amid the ongoing war.

Asked on Fox News if he supports Israel going into Rafah, Fetterman said, “Well, I follow Israel on that. I mean they would know the situation more than I do.”

“And I’m always trying to center this to people, where it’s like Hamas could … Well, they started this,” Fetterman continued Tuesday. “They did these kinds of terrible things. And this could end right now if they send all those hostages back home, and they could surrender … but they clearly don’t care about all the Palestinians’ death and chaos and damage.”

His remarks came hours after Israel began rolling military tanks into the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where a critical border crossing is located for the delivery of humanitarian aid. The Biden administration and other Western leaders tried to sway Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu away from a full-scale invasion in recent weeks, arguing it would risk civilian lives and the delivery of crucial aid.

White House national security communications adviser John Kirby on Tuesday said the U.S. is closely monitoring Israel’s actions in Rafah, while noting they did not rise to the level of a full-scale military operation U.S. officials warned against. 

Netanyahu maintained that military operations in Rafah will increase pressure on Hamas, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007.

Fetterman on Tuesday argued Israel is taking precautions to protect civilian lives.

“Israel actually cares about minimizing these civilian deaths. But Hamas sees that as just their own kinds of collateral damage,” he said.

“Israel is in this kind of a war. And we — I have no conditions. I never have. And I can’t imagine I ever will,” he said in an earlier remark.

Israel told about 100,000 residents of eastern Rafah to evacuate on Monday, and UNRWA, the United Nations’s agency that supplies food and medicine for civilians, said it intends to stay in Rafah despite Israel’s incursion.

Fetterman, who is serving his first term in the Senate, has been a steadfast supporter of Israel since Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks, often breaking with liberal Democrats over Israel’s handling of the war.

He has been a staunch critic of the ongoing pro-Palestinian college demonstrations happening at college campuses across the country, accusing them of “working against peace in the Middle East.” He also called them “pup tents” for Hamas in a separate interview.

Speaking with Fox News on Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Democrat suggested the protesters do not understand exactly what they are advocating for.

“If you ask them, they’re not really sure. They can’t — and now they’re not talking about cease-fires anymore. And now they’re talking about divesting and harming Israel on that. It’s crazy,” he told Fox News anchor Bret Baier.

“And Hamas is convinced that they have won the PR war, and they keep seeing all these kinds of protests across the nation [on] these campuses. And it’s not helpful, but it’s actually — it works against peace, I think,” he continued.

The U.S., along with Egypt and Qatar, has spent weeks working on a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas that would see the release of Israeli hostages. Hamas on Monday said it accepted an offer for a temporary cease-fire, but Israel said the group’s terms fell short of its core demands.

The White House on Tuesday pushed for the finalization of the agreement, despite Israel’s seizing of the Rafah border crossing.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top