U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) heavily criticized Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin for his views on the Israel-Hamas conflict, terming him “naive.”
What Happened: Graham expressed a loss of confidence in Austin, who had previously posited that Israel risked a “strategic defeat” if it didn’t take measures to safeguard civilians.
During an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Graham countered Austin’s views, asserting that Palestinians were already inflamed and taught to harbor hatred against Jews from birth.
“He’s so naive. I mean, I’ve just lost all confidence in this guy,” Graham said.
“How about focusing on protecting our soldiers, men and women in Syria and Iraq? Strategic defeat would be inflaming the Palestinians? They’re already inflamed. They’re taught from the time they’re born to hate the Jews and to kill them. They’re taught math by, ‘If you have 10 Jews, you kill six. How many would you have left?'”
Graham further disputed the notion that Israel was up against a peaceful population, calling it a “radicalized population.” He argued that Israel was battling not only Hamas but also the infrastructure surrounding it.
“I don’t want to kill innocent people. But Israel is fighting not just Hamas, but the infrastructure around Hamas. Look what happened to the Israeli hostages when they were presented to the Palestinian population. It’s beyond naive.”
Why It Matters: The senator’s comments come in the wake of Austin’s speech at the Reagan National Defense Forum, where he reiterated his efforts to urge Israeli leaders to minimize civilian casualties as Israel continues its offensive in Gaza.
“The center of gravity is the civilian population, and if you drive them into the arms of the enemy, you replace a tactical victory with a strategic defeat,” Austin said, adding that he would continue to press Israel to ensure the robust flow of humanitarian aid and protection of civilians.
Meanwhile, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) asked civilians to vacate extensive areas in the Gaza Strip, encompassing several neighborhoods in the southern regions, as it resumed its military operations in the area.
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces have caused more than 15,000 fatalities and over 41,000 injuries since Oct. 7, according to the Hamas-run Palestinian Health Ministry.
In Israel, at least 1,200 individuals have lost their lives, and 6,900 others have sustained injuries due to attacks by Hamas and other Palestinian militants, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
Photo via Shutterstock
Image and article originally from www.benzinga.com. Read the original article here.