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ICYMI: Rubio Joins CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined The Lead with Jake Tapper to discuss the terrorist attacks on Israel by Iranian-backed Hamas. See below for highlights and watch the full interview on YouTube and Rumble.
On military intelligence before the Hamas attacks:
“The Israelis themselves have said, their public officials have admitted, that they were caught by surprise. They certainly weren’t prepared. That’s a process they’re going to have to go through. They’ve done that in the past when there have been failures. Now they need to win a war, and they need to destroy Hamas. Then that moment will come. From our perspective, we’ll have to go back and see if we missed any signs.
“No one can tell you they knew that it was going to happen at this time on this day, but what we have known for a long time, and for which there is no mystery, is, number one, there is no Hamas without Iranian support. Number two, Hamas actively trains and prepares, and aspires for the day in which it can help bring about the destruction of the Jewish state of Israel. Those things are known.
“Obviously, if there were signs missed about an imminent attack or what was about to happen, those are things we all have to work through here internally, on our end. But right now, I think the focus has to be entirely on helping Israel to win this battle against these degenerates. [We can] figure out down the road, and in some cases simultaneously, where we can improve, because intelligence remains viable for what might come tomorrow or a week from now.”
On whether Israeli coexistence with Hamas is possible:
“I don’t think there’s any way Israel can be expected to coexist or find some diplomatic off-ramp with these savages. These are people who deliberately targeted teenage girls, women, children, and the elderly, not just for rape and murder, but for then dumping their bodies off in the streets of Gaza, where the crowds can defile their lifeless bodies. These are just horrifying things, and I don’t think we know the full extent of it yet. There’s more to come in the days and weeks ahead.
“You can’t coexist [with Hamas]. They have to be eradicated. This is going to be incredibly painful. It’s going to be incredibly difficult, and it’s going to be horrifying, the price to pay. But even more horrifying is allowing a group like this to continue to be a viable group operating from a space that they control. I don’t see any other option. It’s a terrible option, but it remains the only option.
“I think the blame will squarely be on Hamas for using people, human beings, as they have for a long time, the way Hezbollah does, as shields. They deliberately put their missile launchers and their headquarters near places they know where civilians are going to be. Israel is in a very difficult spot here with no great options, but only one option that actually serves their national interest. I just don’t see any other way forward. I hate to say it, but that’s just the case.”
On whether Israel’s domestic turmoil prompted the terrorist attacks:
“The Israelis have admitted that their enemies calculated that. When you have reservist groups saying they’re not going to report to duty, that is one of the things that would encourage an enemy to attack. I think the Israelis would acknowledge that. I think they’ve miscalculated, because you’ve seen Israelis come together at the moment and respond to this, and put aside those political differences, because they share a common enemy, a common threat, and it’s an existential threat.
“What everybody needs to understand is that the clear goal of Hamas is not to take back land. The goal of Hamas is to eradicate, to eliminate the Jewish state of Israel. That’s their goal. I don’t know how you negotiate with a group like that. There’s awareness of that in Israel, what they’re dealing with. I think these images have served to reinforce that. I think the prime minister earlier today said, we have long known Hamas, and just now the world is seeing who they actually are.
“I think those differences right now do not seem to be impeding their efforts to confront this. Now, Israeli politics are very vibrant. There’s obviously a lot of back and forth, and that will continue in the long term. But in the mid-term, it seems they’ve come together, and that’s the right approach, because they’re facing probably the most significant attack on Israeli territory in their history.”