House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) has maintained that President Joe Biden should not be telling Israel how to conduct its military operations.
Turner made the call in response to the president asking Israel to delay its ground operation in Gaza to allow for negotiations over the hostages that Hamas took when it attacked Israel on Oct. 7.
Turner, while speaking to CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union,” acknowledged that negotiations are underway for the release of the hostages. He, however, maintained that Hamas is a franchise of Iran whose ability to threaten Israel must be diminished.
“The brutal terrorist attacks that have occurred in Israel are going to result in Israel entering into Gaza and in taking this conflict to Hamas itself in order to diminish their ability to continue to threaten Israel,” Turner said. “As we see that unfold, certainly, getting humanitarian aid is important, getting the hostages back are important. And as there are opportunities, that those break, certainly, they need to be pursued. But the United States should not be dictating to Israel the prosecution of this conflict. They certainly are on the ground. They know the risks. They know the consequences. And, certainly, the United States supports their efforts to diminish this terrorist threat.”
Israel must be able to remove Hamas and their attempts to continue to operate as a terrorist organization.
— US Rep. Mike Turner (@RepMikeTurner) October 23, 2023
Meanwhile, White House spokesman John Kirby refused to say if the Biden administration did ask Israel to delay its ground operation in Gaza. Kirby, however, maintained that America’s focus is on the return of the hostages.
“We have been talking about our Israeli counterparts about their plans, their intentions, their strategy. We have been asking them for how they’re answering the tough questions that any military is going to have to do before you go on and conduct major operations,” Kirby told CNN on Monday morning. “The Israeli defense forces, they make these decisions themselves. nothing has changed about our focus on those hostages. We’re glad we got two back home with their families, where they belong last week. We want to get the rest of them out. You got to have the ability to continue to negotiate and try to work towards that outcome. We absolutely want to make that happen.”