U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, speaks after a Republican policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol on March 28, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, said during a weekend visit to Israel that if the world wants peace, “organizations like Hamas have to be eliminated.”
Israel has been at war with Hamas, a militant Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip, since surprise attacks by Hamas on Oct. 7.
Thune joined a bipartisan group of Senate colleagues in Tel Aviv to show support for Israel.
I joined a bipartisan group of my colleagues in Tel Aviv to show our unwavering support for Israel.
If we want to see the entire world, including this region, be a safer, more secure, and more stable place, organizations like Hamas have to be eliminated. pic.twitter.com/Jq6nOK7YJf
— Senator John Thune (@SenJohnThune) October 22, 2023
“The barbarism we saw on October the 7th cannot stand,” Thune said. “Israel has a right to exist. Israel has a right to defend itself, and not be threatened on a daily basis, right on its border, by a terror organization whose main mission is wiping it off the map.”
Israel has retaliated against Hamas, cutting off supplies to Gaza and conducting air strikes.
“The only people who benefit from Hamas’ activities in this region are their enablers in Tehran,” Thune said. Tehran is the capital of Iran, whose government has supported Hamas.
President Biden and congressional leaders have pledged support for Israel, a U.S. ally.
The Biden administration asked Congress last week to approve nearly $106 billion in new funding for military and humanitarian aid to Israel, Ukraine and other countries, and to improve security on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The funding request includes $92.2 billion for national security, including $14.3 billion for Israel. The request would fund $10.6 billion to provide Israel air and missile defense support and to restock Defense Department supplies, and $3.7 billion for State Department foreign military financing and embassy support.
White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the U.S. assistance would also help “civilians impacted by the war in Gaza, who have nothing to do with Hamas and are suffering greatly as well.”
— States Newsroom’s D.C. Bureau contributed to this report.
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