Cotton: ‘Joe Biden’s position is de facto for Hamas victory at this point’

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) took aim at President Biden’s stance on Israel on Sunday, slamming him for the administration’s position on Rafah and its decision to pause some military shipments to the country.

Cotton defended Israel’s actions in Rafah that have set the stage for a potential full-scale invasion into the city — where more than 1 million people had relocated to seek refuge. He said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Israel needs to go into Rafah to destroy militant group Hamas.

“Joe Biden’s position is de facto for Hamas victory at this point. Israel’s goal is to destroy Hamas, which committed the worst atrocity against Jews since World War II. Hamas’s goal is to survive. … If Israel does not go into Rafah and destroy Hamas in Rafah, Hamas will survive,” Cotton said.

The Biden administration has repeatedly warned against an invasion of Rafah without putting forward a plan to protect civilians. Israel moved into Rafah and seized a border crossing for humanitarian aid last week but has yet to launch a wider operation.

Biden warned last week that the U.S. would stop sending offensive weapons to Israel if it invades Rafah. The Biden administration said last week it would be delaying the shipment of certain bombs to Israel amid a looming invasion.

Biden took heat from both sides of the aisle after the move to pause a shipment. Cotton railed against the decision to delay some shipments to Israel, labeling it as a “de facto arms embargo” on Israel, which prompted CBS host Margaret Brennan to push back.

“You know, $26 billion in emergency funding was just approved by the president. And there is not an arms embargo on Israel, and there is not a block on intelligence sharing with Israel. You know that,” she told him.

Cotton also discussed Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s comments on “Face the Nation,” in which Blinken said it is “reasonable to assess that in a number of instances, Israel has not acted in a manner that’s consistent with international humanitarian law.”

“No, it doesn’t make any sense at all, Margaret, it sounds like a bunch of weaselly, mealy-mouthed politics,” Cotton said. “He said it’s ‘reasonable to assess,’ he said that like three or four times, it’s like he was coached to say that, as if it was some magic talisman to help them walk the political line they want between the pro-Hamas wing of their party and the vast pro-Israel majority of the American people.”

Blinken was referring to a recent State Department review, which raised “serious concerns” about Israel’s actions in Gaza.

The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.

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