Top Biden Senate ally puts Netanyahu on notice about his legacy

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s next decisions about the nation’s ongoing war in Gaza could negatively impact the relationship with the U.S.

This was the view of President Joe Biden’s campaign co-chairman, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) who warned Netanyahu during a Sunday appearance on ABC’s “This Week.”

Coons spoke of the Israeli prime minister’s “legacy” in light of the October 7 attack on his nation by Hamas terrorists and Israel’s decision to defend itself from future attacks by enemies who are intent on eliminating the Jewish state…

“It is tragic that we’re at this point, and Martha, I want to conclude by saying that I hope Prime Minister Netanyahu is thinking about his legacy,” Coons told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz.

“Right now, his legacy is the huge, strategic, and defensive failure of October 7th, and his legacy could be a real gap, a break in the long, strong, bipartisan strategic relationship between the United States and Israel. I think that would be tragic,” the Democrat senator said.

“His legacy could instead be achieving regional security and peace for Israel,” he claimed.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, Hamas continues to hold 132 hostages, including two children. While Netanyahu has indicated a ground invasion on Rafah may be imminent, Biden has threatened to withhold aid to Israel if he follows through.

The city is considered a stronghold of Hamas terrorists though many Palestinian civilians have reportedly sought refuge there.

“I have told our American friends: If necessary, we will fight with our fingernails,” Netanyahu said Sunday. “We have much more than fingernails.”

Coons addressed Israel’s use of U.S. weapons earlier in the interview.

“What matters, Martha, is whether the next stage of this conflict against Hamas, which Israel has every right to carry out, allows for civilians to get out of the way of any future attack on Rafah. And that’s what President Biden has said now publicly, as well as privately, to our trusted ally, Israel is, you can continue this war against Hamas, but if you’re going to use our munitions and continue to have our support, you have to do it in a way that minimizes civilian casualties,” he told Raddatz.

Coons indicated that the Biden administration would closely be watching Israel’s next steps.

“I think we’ll be looking closely at the path forward that Prime Minister Netanyahu chooses in the days ahead, whether he will use American supplied munitions to bomb and invade and attack Rafah, and the million civilians who are there in order to get at the Hamas fighters who are buried in tunnels deep beneath Rafah,” the Democrat said. “Or whether he will move ahead with allowing those civilians to be relocated in accordance with a plan developed with the United States.”

“I think whatever munitions, such as the 2,000 bombs that have previously been used in Gaza, that are supplied only by the United States, and that can cause massive civilian casualties may well be paused,” he said, noting Hamas’ use of civilians as “human shields.”

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, offered a starkly different take in his interview with Raddatz.

“Of course, you want the conditions with [a] humanitarian [plan] to be in place, of course, you want the tents in place, but to say you cannot invade Rafah,” the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said.

“We’re telling the Israelis dictating their military strategy. This is the last point, the last step in the completion of their military objective. And for us to step in and say no, you can’t go into Rafah and finish the job I think is tantamount to an arms embargo,” he added.

“Netanyahu said, I’ve talked to him, ‘I’m going to do this alone if I have to.’ Where it matters, Martha is the signal and the message we’re sending the rest of the world that you can’t count on the United States, can’t trust the United States,” McCaul said.

Frieda Powers

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