McConnell pushes back on Biden conditions on aid to Israel

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is pushing back on President Biden’s conditions on aid to Israel. 

McConnell stressed the U.S. should not be directing Israel on how they should be conducting their war with Hamas. 

“It’s a democratic ally with an elected government — a unity government — and we shouldn’t be telling them how to conduct a war on their own borders,” McConnell said in an interview with Politico published on Thursday. “If they are a democratic ally, we don’t get to pick the leaders. And this is a unity government … it’s not about the prime minister.”

The Kentucky Republican’s remarks came just a day after Biden warned Isreal that he would halt some weapon transfers to Israel if it launches a full-scale invasion into Rafah, a city in the south of Gaza where over 1 million Palestinians are sheltering. 

“I made it clear that if they go into Rafah — they haven’t gone in Rafah yet — if they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities — that deal with that problem,” Biden said in an interview with CNN. 

The White House has told Israel it is against the invasion of Rafah if there’s no plan in place to safely evacuate civilians. Last week, the U.S. reportedly paused the shipment of bombs to Israel over concerns related to Rafah’s invasion. 

McConnell, who was a big factor in getting foreign aid passed through Congress last month, disagrees with Biden’s warning to put conditions on weapons for the U.S. ally.  

“We should not be telling them how to protect themselves,” he told Politico. “We should not be conditioning the arrival of military equipment that they need because of some domestic view that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is unpopular. Completely irrelevant to the war.”

Despite the president drawing a red line in regard to the operation in Rafah, Netanyahu said the incursion would move ahead. 

“If we need to stand alone, we will stand alone,” Netanyahu said in a video address posted on Thursday.

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