WASHINGTON, D.C. – The renewal of warfare between Israel and the Middle East terrorist group Hamas couldn’t have come at a worse time for officials here in Washington.
While all-out war rages between Israel and Gaza, the U.S. House is without leadership following the ouster of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Oct. 2.
“We cannot debate or advance support to aid Israel,” said Rep. Blake Moore in a prepared statement updating his 1st District constituents on the conflict. “Due to the actions of eight House Republicans and all Democrats last week, the House of Representative is without a speaker.
“What would happen if we needed to declare war?” he added. “This is a sad example that when you act in self-interest, you weaken our nation and our allies.”
Hamas launched their sneak attack on Israel from the Palestinian enclave of the Gaza Strip on Saturday, Oct. 7, the morning of the Jewish holiday Shemini Atzeret and the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War of 1973.
The attack – which Moore said must have taken Hamas months to plan and prepare for – not only took Israeli officials by surprise, but also blindsided U.S. intelligence in the Middle East.
As of Oct. 10, at least 1,000 Israeli and foreign citizens — including some Americans- – have been killed in street-fighting in southern towns in Israel. Hamas claims to have abducted 130 people and 260 have been found dead at the site of a music festival near the Gaza border.
Israel declared war on Oct. 7 and began retaliatory strikes against the Hamas strongholds in the densely populated and impoverished Gaza Strip.
The conflict has been met with mixed signals from the Biden administration.
On Oct. 10, President Joe Biden promised to have Israel’s back, issuing a clear statement of support for the embattled Jewish state.
But the Office of Palestinian Affairs at the State Department first posted, then deleted a statement on X – the social media application formerly known as Twitter – that called for “all sides (in the conflict) to refrain from violence and retaliatory attacks.”
“Israeli citizen are being murdered in the streets,” Moore countered in his statement. “They are fully justified in using whatever forceful means are necessary to stop the violence and ensure that this never happens again.”
U.S. officials are aware that Iran has funded Hamas for years and provided training for their leadership, Moore explained.
Despite that, the Biden administration moved in September to unfreeze $6 billion in Iranian assets in exchange for the release of Americans jailed in the country controlled by its Islamic clergy.
“The American people should be furious that the Biden administration unfroze $6 billion in Iranian assets in exchange for American political prisoners,” Moore argued. “While the administration claims that the money could not be used for military purposes, we know that Iran cannot be trusted.”
In response to the ongoing conflict, Moore said that the U.S. House needs to select a speaker immediately and the Biden administration should call an emergency meeting of its international economic partners to develop a plan to help Israel and coordinate sanctions on Hamas and its financial backers.
Moore said those steps should include “ … an honest assessment of Iran’s involvement with the (Hamas) attacks and imposing sanctions where necessary.”
He also called for an investigation into why U.S. intelligence failed to predict the Hamas attacks and added that Congress should “heavily scrutinize” future aid packages to the Palestinian Authority to ensure that they will not indirectly benefit Hamas.
“America has an opportunity to lead in this conflict,” Moore concluded. “We need to reaffirm our commitment to the Israeli people, religious liberty and the eradication of terrorism.”