Aid for Gaza refugees creates tension point for DeSantis and Haley | ET REALITY

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The deepening humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip is driving a wedge between Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley, two leading Republican presidential candidates, who diverged sharply Sunday on whether the United States should help the region’s Palestinian refugees sooner. of an expected Israeli invasion. .

In an appearance on the CBS morning show. “Confront the nation” DeSantis, Florida’s governor, doubled down on comments he had made a day earlier in Iowa, espousing a hardline opposition to aid to civilians who have been thrown into the middle of the conflict.

“They teach children to hate Jews,” he said. “The textbooks don’t even mention Israel on the map. They prepare very young children to commit terrorist attacks. So I think it’s a toxic culture.”

Haley, a former United Nations ambassador under President Donald J. Trump, rejected that view during a CNN interview Sunday with Jake Tapper on the “State of the Union.”

“America has always been sympathetic to the fact that you can separate civilians from terrorists,” he said after being shown a clip of DeSantis’ opening remarks Saturday.

Nearly a million people are dealing with shortages of food, clean water and shelter in Gaza, which is preparing for a ground invasion by Israel in retaliation for the October 7 attacks and hostage taking by Hamas, a Iranian-backed militant group.

DeSantis argued Sunday that it would be harmful to the United States to “import” large numbers of refugees and would fuel anti-Semitism, echoing comments he made about people in Gaza the day before that drew scrutiny.

At a campaign event on Saturday, Santis said: “If you look at how they behave, not all of them are Hamas, but they are all anti-Semitic. “None of them believe in Israel’s right to exist.”

And he added: “The Arab states should accept them. “If you have refugees, you don’t fly them out and take them to the United States of America.”

When CBS anchor Margaret Brennan pointed out to DeSantis that Arabs are Semites and repeated her comments, he stood by his words.

“Those attacks in the Gaza Strip were very celebrated by many people who were not Hamas,” he said.

Ms. Brennan suggested it was a long shot that Gaza refugees could resettle in the United States, saying they could not even evacuate their immediate area. Still, Republicans have used the broader conflict to formulate their positions on military action and humanitarian aid.

In the House, Reps. Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin and Andy Ogles of Tennessee, both Republicans, have announced that plans to introduce a bill They say it would prevent the Biden administration from issuing visas to Palestinian passport holders.

Mr. DeSantis, who served in the Marine Advocate General’s Corps in Iraq, was also asked if he would advise the Israeli military to stop its attacks on the infrastructure that provides water and electricity to Gaza.

“I don’t think they have any obligation to provide water and these utilities while the hostages are being held,” he said.

Ms. Haley struck a more sympathetic chord on Sunday, saying that a large percentage of Palestinians and Iranians did not support the violence being perpetrated on each other.

“There are many, many of these people who want to free themselves from this terrorist government,” he said.

While the Republican candidates have expressed solidarity with Israel in the wake of the Hamas attacks, they have also clashed with each other over who is most loyal to Israel, America’s closest ally in the Middle East, and what the role of the United States should be. United in conflicts. abroad.

On Sunday, Haley continued to condemn Trump, her former boss and Republican favorite, for referring to Hezbollah, the Iran-backed militant group, as “very smart” while criticizing Israel’s prime minister and Israeli intelligence. She accused Trump of emboldening American adversaries and drawing attention to himself.

“None of them should be congratulated because that makes America look weak,” he said on CNN, adding: “This is not about Trump. “It’s not about him.”

A Trump campaign spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

Ms. Haley also criticized President Biden again, saying he should never have agreed to release $6 billion in frozen oil revenue money to Iran for humanitarian purposes as part of a hostage release deal that was announced in August.

Faced with the fallout from releasing the money, the Biden administration and Qatar agreed last week to deny Iran access to the funds, which White House officials said had not been spent.

“You empowered Iran to go and strengthen Hamas, strengthen Hezbollah, strengthen the Houthis to spread their terrorist activity,” Ms. Haley said.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

Haley Johnson contributed reporting from Creston, Iowa.

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