The war between Israel and Hamas became a major issue in the GOP presidential race last week, with some candidates seeking to emphasize their strong support for Israel. Several Republican candidates, including DeSantis, have also rebuked former President Donald Trump more candidly. sharpness on the issue, criticizing Trump for criticizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and calling another group attacking Israel “very smart.”
DeSantis has focused heavily on the conflict over the past week and opened his speech in Creston, Iowa, on Saturday morning to discuss it. Addressing the issue of refugees, he told voters that “Arab states” should welcome people from Gaza and added: “You don’t fly people in and import them into the United States of America. »
Israeli officials have warned more than a million Palestinians to leave the northern Gaza Strip as the Israeli military responds to Hamas with airstrikes and prepares a ground attack aimed at ending the militant group’s rule over the territory. On Gaza’s southern edge, Egypt has resisted opening its border to Gaza refugees due to potential political fallout and security risks, and the United Nations has opposed the mass evacuation order for Gaza. ‘Israel, deeming it unachievable.
As governor, DeSantis asked the state government to help Florida residents leave Israel and deliver supplies as some major airlines halt service. The federal government is also working to get Americans out of the conflict zone. DeSantis said passengers on Florida’s first flights from Israel are expected to arrive Sunday.
DeSantis also used attacks by Hamas — which the United States has designated a foreign terrorist organization — as an opportunity to push for additional restrictions on migrants crossing the U.S. border with Mexico.
“I have said publicly several times before (these) terrorist attacks against Israel: There will be a terrorist attack in this country that we can connect to this southern border,” he said on Saturday.
Trump, meanwhile, claimed, without providing evidence, that “the same people who attacked Israel” were crossing the southern border “in record numbers.”
Alex Nowrasteh, who has studied crime and immigration data at the Cato Institute, recently testified before Congress that nine foreign-born terrorists entered the country illegally between 1975 and last year, but said only three of them crossed the U.S. border with Mexico.
Meryl Kornfield contributed to this report.