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Risch: Biden’s Decision to Hold Aid to Israel a “Horrible Mistake”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today spoke at a Senate Republican press conference condemning the Biden Administration’s blocking of arms sales for Israel.

05-09-24 Press Conf on Biden Admin Holding Arms Sales to Israel

Risch gave the following remarks:

“The non-partisan weapons sales process has kept domestic political squabbles out of this for a long time. It’s been in place for about half a century, and it has worked really well. The administration has stepped outside those boundaries now without any notifications to us.

“We have a situation here where Congress passed funding, the administration allowed these weapons sales, myself and the other three members of Congress who closely look at these sales – and take that obligation seriously – also signed off on it, and now in the heat of battle, this administration is saying ‘we’re gonna pull this back.’ This is unprecedented. It’s going to be watched by our enemies. It’s going to be watched by our allies. And it is not helpful to the national security of the United States.

“More importantly, what the administration claims to be trying to do is to reduce the collateral damages when Israel goes into Rafah. And they are going into Rafah. They’ve said they’re going in with or without anybody else’s help.

“What is the system the administration has held up? It’s the kits that make the bombs smart bombs and precision bombs instead of dumb bombs. They’re doing exactly the opposite of what they say they’re trying to do. This is simply a nod to their far-left flank. It’s trying to have a foot on each side of the fence, which it can’t do.

“Within two hours of the president’s announcement last night, Hamas said they were withdrawing from negotiations on hostages and on a ceasefire. What the president has done is handed a great victory to Hamas. It’s going to invigorate the fighting that they’re doing in Gaza. And it’s going to stop the negotiations that have been ongoing. This was a horrible mistake."

These remarks have been lightly edited for clarity. A video of the full press conference can be found here.