Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Tuesday that no amount of civilian deaths in Gaza would cause him to question Israel’s goal of eradicating militant group Hamas.
In an interview on CNN’s “NewsNight,” Graham made clear his support for Israel would not waver under any circumstance. Still, he said they should “be smart” and try to limit civilian casualties, which he said Israel is trying to do.
Asked whether there should be a threshold where he starts questioning Israel’s tactics in its war against Hamas, the senator said “no.”
“If somebody asked us after World War II, is there a limit to what you would do to make sure that Japan and Germany don’t conquer the world? Is there any limit to what Israel should do to the people who are trying to slaughter the Jews? The answer is no,” Graham said.
“There is no limit, but here’s what you need to do: Be smart. Let’s try to limit civilian casualties, the best we can. Let’s put humanitarian aid in areas that protect the innocent. I’m all for that,” the South Carolina Republican continued. “But this idea that Israel has to apologize for attacking Hamas, who’s embedded with their own population, needs to stop.”
Israel confirmed on Tuesday that its strikes hit a densely populated refugee camp, where a high-ranking Hamas official had strategically been located. Pressed about the news, Graham underscored the gruesome tactics Hamas took on Oct. 7.
“In 2023, could anybody imagine a group of people would come into Israel and slaughter families, rape children in front of the parents, burn babies alive. Put a baby in the oven, can you imagine that?” he said. “I can’t imagine that.”
“The destruction of Hamas is nonnegotiable. I hate the loss of innocent lives. The day after Hamas is destroyed, I hope we have a better life for the Palestinian people,” Graham continued. “But I’m not blaming Israel. I’m blaming Hamas. I’m not blaming Israel at all.”
His remarks come as Israel launches what it has described as the second wave of the war, beginning ground operations in Gaza. Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed retaliation for the Oct. 7 surprise attack after more than 1,400 Israelis were killed and 200 people taken hostage by Hamas.
The Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health has estimated that more than 8,500 Palestinians have died as Israel has unleashed a barrage of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, controlled by the militant group, which the U.S. has classified as a terrorist organization.
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This story originally Appeared on The Hill