WASHINGTON D.C. - Northeast Florida Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis is accusing the U.S. State Department of “pussyfooting” around the recent tragedy in Israel and says Congress should cut off funds to the Hamas-backed Palestinian Authority.
After three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered in June, the State Department on Wednesday urged cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians. Spokeswoman Marie Harf stopped short of blaming Hamas, saying there are “many indications” pointing to their involvement, but the investigation is “still ongoing.”
“I think their moral equivalence is really disgusting,” Congressman DeSantis tells WOKV News.
DeSantis says it is “obvious” Hamas is responsible for the deaths of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frenkel.
“If you talk to anybody who is in that area in Israel – if you listen to Prime Minister Netanyahu – there’s never been any indication that it was anybody other than Hamas,” he says.
Hamas is a designated terrorist organization. DeSantis says by law, the United States cannot send funds to any government that is influenced by terrorists.
“The Obama administration has refused to comply with the law,” DeSantis says. “And the way they get around it is they say, ‘Well, Hamas really isn’t a part of the actual governing structure because you have technocrats who are essentially running the government.’ Which is essentially a rouse they’re buying into in order to sustain continued funds.”
DeSantis, who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, says Congress needs to use the power of the purse and cut off American funds to the Palestinian Fatah-Hamas unity government.
“Congress can send a very, very clear message that we will not allow the American people’s tax dollars to be complicit in a Hamas-influenced government,” he says. “But then I also think we need to speak clearly in Congress to support Israel’s right to defend itself against this type of barbarism.”
DeSantis believes the Obama administration blames Israel for a lot of the problems in the Middle East, particularly in the Arab-Israeli conflict. He says it’s a “fundamentally different outlook” than most of Congress and the American people.
“I think the problem with the Arab-Israeli conflict is that the Israelis do not have willing partners for peace.”
On Wednesday, the Obama administration condemned the killing of a Palestinian teenager as a “despicable act” and is calling for justice.