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ICYMI: Rubio Joins State of the Union on CNN

Oct 15, 2023 | Press Releases

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined State of the Union to discuss the latest in the Israel-Hamas war. See below for highlights and watch the full interview on YouTube and Rumble.

On what to expect next from the Israel-Hamas war:

“The first [item] is an incursion into Gaza to try to root out Hamas. I believe the Israelis have the ability to do it, especially our resupply role that we’re going to play. But it won’t be an easy task. 

“There’s no doubt Hamas has booby trapped the place. They have taken a defensive posture, and they’re hiding behind civilians. We’ve seen the reporting just today, open source media, about how they’re preventing civilians from moving and [preventing] people from getting out of the way. It’s part of their tactics. Related to that is, what is Hezbollah, and behind them Iran, planning to do as a result of this? 

“Wars are painful, difficult things. They’re not pleasant. They’re not the kinds of things that anyone should be cheering on. But sometimes, in human affairs, they become necessary, in particular to get rid of this terrorist group. What is the reaction going to be from Hezbollah? Are they going to launch a second front? Because I think that changes this dynamic substantially in very serious ways. 

“This is a very delicate moment, a necessary moment, unfortunately, but it’s also one that we shouldn’t take lightly. It’s deeply troubling, at the same time as we know what Israel has to do here.”

On Egypt’s posture toward the conflict and how long the conflict may last:

“The Egyptians certainly don’t want any part of assuming any of the responsibility here. Hamas is a descendant, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, and they certainly don’t want that in their country either, which complicates this further…. 

“This is not one of those 72-hour or two- or three-week deals here. This is going to take some time. Hamas is deeply embedded. They hide in tunnels. And it’s not just Hamas. There are Islamic Jihad and other groups that are involved in this as well. This is going to be a complicated process. 

“I think Israel, with our support, has the ability to carry out the job, but it’s going to be painful. It’s going to be costly all around. They know that. They’ve messaged that. I think this is a month-type situation, not days or weeks-type situation, from everything I’ve seen. I hope I’m wrong. I hope it’s quicker than that. But that’s the direction everyone seems to believe this will go.”

On the posture of other Middle Eastern nations toward the Palestinians:

“I don’t care what country you are, no country in the world wants mass migrations of people from other places. It was a mass migration of refugees that changed the dynamic of Lebanon, completely altered the demographics, plunged the country into a long civil war, and has brought it to the point it is today. Egypt doesn’t want that. Jordan doesn’t want that. None of these countries want that. None of them are ponying up and saying, ‘Send everybody to us.’ I think certainly they could play a role in that regard, in terms of helping accommodate people coming there. 

“The other [item] is the role they play, some of these countries, in being supporters of Hamas in the past. The Qataris are a strategic ally and someone we work with on many issues, but they’ve also been a supporter of Hamas. My understanding is, they’re trying to play a constructive role in this regard. But at the same time, I think this should be a lesson to all of these nations and governments that if you’re trying to play an outsized role in the region by having these groups that you have relationships with, it will end up backfiring on you, particularly a group like this that is committed to the establishment of an Islamic fundamentalist Palestinian state that stretches from the Mediterranean to the Jordan. 

“I hope this will be a lesson that groups like this should not be coddled or encouraged. The hope is to find responsible actors that you can partner with and engage with in the region. That just hasn’t existed, which is what makes this part of the world so difficult. That’s why I think we have to take things one step at a time. Step one is to eliminate Hamas as a military threat. They simply cannot continue to be a military threat after what they’ve done. Then there are a lot of complicated questions. 

“Anyone who tells you they have somewhere in their jacket a simple plan to fix all this in the long term is not being honest. There are a lot of complex twists and turns and difficult decisions to be made, but the one that’s pretty clear at the front end is, Hamas has to be eliminated as a military threat.”

On efforts to warn and protect Palestinian civilians:

“I think those efforts are underway. Israel has been doing it from the very beginning, telling people to get out of there, to move. You’ve seen some efforts to move. You’ve seen efforts from Hamas to prevent that from happening. 

“The other thing to remember here is, wars are terrible, ugly things. In human affairs, they are necessary sometimes, because nations have a right to self-defense. Hamas cannot be allowed to continue to exist. They follow the same pattern over and over again. They kill Israelis, and then they run and hide in their tunnels. They put civilians in front of them. Civilians get killed. The world screams at Israel, ‘You need to stop.’ Israel stops, and then Hamas comes back and kills more Israelis. In the future, that pattern cannot continue. 

“As far as what more can be done, I think a lot of those efforts are in place to ask as many people as possible to move to the south. The Israelis say they’ve turned on the water again and hopefully some of the power to that part, where that could be a safe haven. 

“But it’s important to remember here, Israel is not saying, ‘We are going to attack civilians for the purpose of inflicting terror.’ They are trying to target Hamas strongholds. That’s what they’re targeting. If civilians are in those strongholds, it’s because Hamas has placed themselves there. Unfortunately, sadly, tragically. But nonetheless, what choice does Israel have? They cannot coexist with this element that is willing to do what we just saw a week ago yesterday.”

On how Congress can support Israel:

“Much of our aid and support to Israel is codified. We codified it with my bill, along with Senator Coons, two years ago. That doesn’t mean we’re not going to have to come back at some point and put additional funding [forward]. But the reason why we codified that support is because I always suspected and feared that a crisis involving Israel would move much faster than the ability of Congress to respond. 

“At some point here soon, we will need a speaker, we will need a functioning House, and there are things we’re going to have to do to help Israel, including fund the government in less than 35 days or keep it open. That’s all going to have to happen. I’ll watch and hope, like everybody else, that the House will be able to work through that process…. 

“But the good news is that the administration right now has ample authority to do what they are doing, and that is position, not just the equipment that’s already accessible, but resupply, should Israel need it here over the next couple of weeks.”