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Video: Speaking with Jen Psaki, Sen. Tim Kaine Says “the last thing we need is an escalation between Iran and Israel right now”

Sen. Kaine says Israel needs to be able to defend itself, but sending more U.S. offensive weapons right now is "pouring gasoline on a fire"

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Interesting interview yesterday by Jen Psaki, with Sen. Tim Kaine talking about the Israel-Hamas war, the dangerous situation between Israel and Iran, etc. See below for video and a few highlights, including:

  • “I’m very concerned about [the potential for Iran striking targets within Israel]…As soon as Israel struck Iranian officials in  Damascus, we knew the likelihood was that Iran would respond…and I’m sure the Israeli military also expected there would be retaliation if they did that. This is a dangerous moment where we don’t need more escalation. We’re already seeing not only a war in Gaza but Hezbollah attacks into Israel from the north, Iranian militias in Iraq and Syria taking action against Israel…the Houthis firing missiles into the Red Sea. The last thing we need is an escalation between Iran and Israel right now.”
  • “That puts the onus back on all of us to work together to find a hostage deal that would release hostages in exchange for a ceasefire. We could flood the zone with humanitarian aid into Gaza safely and we would open up space for a discussion about an extended ceasefire, but also about what would the future be for Palestine….we’ll be back where we are right now if we don’t meaningfully engage, instead of just paying lip service to the notion that Palestinians have a right to an autonomous future. What exactly that looks like, it’ll be different than what was contemplated in 1948, but it’s been a discussion that has been long delayed, that needs to happen. But we can only get  there if we get into a ceasefire and a hostage release deal”
  • I think more offensive weapons that have the possibility of killing civilians and humanitarian aid workers right now is just pouring gasoline on a fire that’s already raging out of control. Israel needs to defend itself against those who would annihilate it, and the US has always been a partner in that.  That includes Hamas, that includes Hezbollah, that includes Iran. Systems that we have worked with Israel on in the past like the Iron Dome system, which intercepts missiles and rockets fired at Israel, those are the kinds of things that we should be continuing to provide…I think there’s plenty we can do that will make sure that Israel can defend itself against threats including this serious threat from Iran. But I think more offensive weapons into this theater of war right now is only going to lead to more and more bad outcomes, not the deescalation that we need to see.”
  • “I think the pacing issue that’s the most crucial issue right now is to see Israel dramatically increase the allowance of humanitarian aid into Gaza. This is a war against Hamas, it shouldn’t be seen as a war against Palestinians or a war against Gazans…The allowance of this humanitarian crisis to spiral out of control with starvation and and famine and  medical emergencies, that is what is creating such an escalatory pressure in the region…Israel has an obligation pursuant to a Biden Administration security memorandum as a recipient of US security aid to do what every other recipient must do, and that’s cooperate with US humanitarian efforts. The strike on the World Central Kitchen aid workers this week, which is not only tragic in that it killed aid workers, but ultimately tragic because it’s blocking aid from getting to suffering Palestinians, and it’s making other NGOs that are providing humanitarian aid eventually step back from their necessary work…We need to see robust delivery of humanitarian aid safely to a civilian population that’s suffering during this war and suffering under the thumb of Hamas. That’s the pacing issue that I think is the most urgent right now.”
  • This is a problem of human tragedy at a significant scale. The Hamas attack on Israel was horrific. The reason for the attack and the timing of the attack to was partially to disrupt US-Israel-Saudi normalization discussions that included a discussion about a future for Palestine. Hamas doesn’t want a Palestine and Israel living side by side. So it’s a very hard problem to solve, to enable Israel to defend itself against those who are intent on its destruction, but protect all these innocent civilians who aren’t part of Hamas, who are under the thumb of Hamas and don’t deserve to suffer. So it’s not a a simple mathematical equation…We’ve got to see a dramatic uptick in Israel allowing humanitarian aid to suffering people…This topic is going to dominate Congress as soon as we get back on Monday.” 

 

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