US political leaders voice support for Israel after surprise attacks from Gaza
As news came in of the Hamas attacks on southern Israel early on Saturday followed by Israel's strikes on Gaza, US political leaders have been weighing in, with the overwhelming majority offering US support to Israel.
After the sun set Saturday evening, major cities throughout the US began lighting up major landmarks in blue and white, the colour of the Israeli flag.
US President Joe Biden was one of many leaders to voice their firm support for Israel.
"Let me say this as clearly as I can. This is not a moment for any party hostile to Israel to exploit these attacks to seek advantage. My Administration’s support for Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering," Biden said in a post on X.
As for those vying for the US presidency, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, came out even stronger in support of Israel, saying it had the right to defend itself with overwhelming force.
"The dastardly terrorist attacks perpetrated against innocent Israeli civilians by Iran-backed terror group Hamas deserve a swift and lethal response. Israel not only has the right to defend itself against these attacks, it has a duty to respond with overwhelming force. I stand with Israel. America must stand with Israel," he stated.
Let there be no mistake: the United States stands with the State of Israel. pic.twitter.com/lRbPLflhzc— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 7, 2023
Republican presidential contender Nikki Haley came down even harder, appearing to call for the decimation of Gaza (or at least Hamas) and possibly suggesting that the US should get involved, saying that Palestinian attacks on Israel were also attacks on the US.
"This is not just an attack on Israel—this was an attack on America. Finish them, @Netanyahu. They should have hell to pay for what they have just done," she said in a news interview on Fox News, which she posted on X Sunday morning.
Similarly, on Meet the Press, she suggested that the same thing could happen to the US through the southern border.
"What happened to Israel could happen here. ... Iran has said the easiest way to get into America is through the southern border."
Adding to the party's strong reaction to the events, on Saturday Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel said in an interview with Fox News that the situation could be " a great opportunity for our candidates" to show their support for Israel.
Naturally, many eyes were on progressive political leaders who have been the most critical of Israel. Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar was among the first of her progressive colleagues to make a statement.
"I condemn the horrific acts we are seeing unfold today in Israel against children, women, the elderly, and the unarmed people who are being slaughtered and taken hostage by Hamas, " she wrote on X.
"Such senseless violence will only repeat the back and forth cycle we've seen, which we cannot allow to continue. We need to call for de-escalation and ceasefire. I will keep advocating for peace and justice throughout the Middle East," she added.
Later in the day, possibly in reaction to numerous statements by public figures advocating for extreme force in Gaza, she wrote a reminder that there are civilians in Gaza who do not have protection.
"Reminder, Gaza doesn’t have shelters or an iron dome and to please pray for them. May peace prevail in the region and move us towards a moral awakening to care about the human suffering we are seeing. Palestinians are human beings who have been in besieged and are deserving of protection from the international community," she wrote.
The surprise attack by Hamas on Israel came after months of raids on the occupied West Bank and the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, where settlers have carried out numerous incursions under police protection.
The escalation also comes amid US efforts to broker a normalisation deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia as part of the Abraham Accords.