July 22, 2024

Graham: ‘I would not invest 15 cents’ in future Palestinian state involving Hamas, PA

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., doubled down on his support for Israel’s campaign in Gaza and said he would not support funding for a future Palestinian state that would be run in part by either Hamas or the Palestinian Authority.

“Well, you got to remember Hamas wants to up the casualties of their own people. They’re using the Palestinian people as human shields,” Graham told ABC News’ Pierre Thomas on “This Week” Sunday when asked about mounting civilian casualties in Gaza. “So, I blame the death of all these Palestinians on Hamas, but Israel is trying to mitigate casualties.”

“I would not invest 15 cents in a future Palestine where Hamas is still standing,” Graham, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, added. “Their leaders need to be killed and captured, and I wouldn’t invest 15 cents into the Palestinian Authority regarding a new Palestine. [Mahmoud] Abbas’ Palestinian Authority is dead to me. So, when we get to the day after Israel has ceased military operations because Hamas has been destroyed, the new Palestine cannot have Hamas, and it cannot be governed by the PA.”

The threat from Graham comes amid Israel’s offensive in Gaza against the Hamas terrorist organization, which was sparked by the militant group’s unprecedented surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7.

At least 20,000 people have been killed and more than 53,300 others injured in Gaza since the Israel-Hamas war began, according to figures from the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry and the Hamas government media office. In Israel, more than 1,200 people have been killed and 6,900 others injured since Oct. 7, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

It’s still unclear what Israel’s plan is for the Gaza Strip after its military operations against Hamas end. Some kind of government run by Abbas has been floated, but the longtime Palestinian Authority leader is thought to be viewed as corrupt by Palestinians in the West Bank, his center of power.

Graham also voiced concerns Sunday that the fighting between Israel and Hamas is sparking growing threats against the United States, citing the violence to argue for further funding to the FBI and Defense Department.

“Jihadist groups all over the world are calling on their members to attack America as payback for us helping Israel. So, the threat levels are at an all-time high. October the seventh put gasoline on a fire and we need to get our border secure and up our game,” he told Thomas.

“We’re under siege at home and abroad. Domestic terrorism does worry me, but jihadist-inspired terrorist attacks are at an all-time high. They want to punish us for helping Israel. So, now’s not the time to go cheap on the FBI or the Department of Defense,” Graham added.

Thomas also pressed Graham on negotiations in the Senate over border security, which Republicans are tying to aid the Biden administration wants to send to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

Republicans and Democrats have said they’re making progress on asylum reforms, though GOP lawmakers want tighter restrictions on the White House’s use of parole, which offers broad protections to certain groups of people whose home countries are in turmoil.

“We have to get it done. The asylum fixes are going pretty well. The hang-up is parole. This administration does not want to let go of the tool they’re abusing,” Graham, a defense and immigration hawk, said. “They’ve been taking the parole statute and granting mass parole, blanket parole and we need to stop.”

The South Carolina Republican, a top ally of Donald Trump, also took aim at a Colorado Supreme Court ruling that would prohibit the former president from appearing on the state’s primary ballot, citing his role in sparking the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. Trump’s campaign is appealing the ruling.

“In my view, there’s no constitutional basis for their decision they rendered. I think it will be a slam dunk in the Supreme Court. Donald Trump will eventually be on the ballot in Colorado. I think he will win the primary,” Graham said.

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