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ICYMI: Rubio Joins the Faulkner Focus
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined The Faulkner Focus to discuss the Iranian-backed Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel and the potential threats it poses to the United States. See below for highlights and watch the full interview on YouTube and Rumble.
On what messages the U.S. should broadcast in the Middle East:
“I think the continued messaging about how we’re going to be there to support Israel and its effort [is good]. I don’t think we need to be as explicit as the Israelis have been. But Hamas seeks to be embedded in all of this. Hamas wants to be the dominant Palestinian group in the region. That’s what they want.
“They want to be the dominant faction for Palestinians. And they think what they have carried out – the taking of hostages, the ability to exchange them in the future for certain concessions, and the brutality that you see on television, that you’ve seen cheered on in some parts of the world and sadly, in some parts of our country – increase their prestige, increase support for them as the most effective anti-Israel Palestinian faction in the Middle East. I think it’s clearly important that they be destroyed, and that Israel do everything they can to destroy them.
“Now, this is going to be very unpleasant, because Hamas hides behind civilians. They use them as shields and don’t really care about people dying. They view death in the service of their cause as a form of worship. It’s a very disturbing situation. We don’t need to be as explicit about that [as Israel] per se, but we do need to make clear to Israel’s enemies that the U.S. will continue to supply Israel what they need until that job is done….
“We [also] have to work very hard to tame the temptation of Iran and their proxies in the region to target and attack Americans. We know who their proxies are. They can’t hide behind the proxies. I think it’s important for the administration to make clear that an attack against Americans in the region by Iran or by their proxies will be considered an attack against the U.S. by the Iranian state, and it will meet a swift and immediate U.S. retaliatory response.”
On the need for dedicated support for Israel from the U.S.:
“I think the most important thing for Israel, always, is that their enemies understand the U.S. is in lockstep behind them, that there’s not going to be any separation, that we’re not going to be here 10 days from now saying to Israel, ‘you’ve done enough, you’ve killed enough Hamas terrorists, it’s time to stand down.’ That’s how it was in 2021. That’s what [Hamas] is counting on.
“These guys in Hamas are not sitting there saying, ‘we really gotta stop this, because too many civilians are dying.’ They don’t care about any of that. What they want to do is emerge from this being viewed as more popular than the Palestinian Authority, for example, over in the West Bank. They want to be the dominant group in the region for Palestinians, and they view this as a great success. They have to be degraded. What they’re counting on is that at some point, when the images stop flowing of the atrocities they’ve committed, that the world will start to put pressure on Israel, and that the U.S., or at least elements in our politics, will join in. It’s important that we don’t do that.
“None of us should be happy or cheerful – I’m not – that innocent people are dying in this conflict, but it is Hamas’ fault. They are the ones that are hiding like cowards in tunnels and buildings in civilian areas. Instead of frontally fighting against the [Israel Defense Force] and soldiers, they go after teenage girls and elderly women.”
On the worldwide threat of terrorist attacks inspired by Hamas:
“I don’t need to take a poll to tell you that Israel is not popular among Palestinians, whether it’s in the Middle East or even here in the U.S. But not every Palestinian is a supporter of Hamas, and not every Palestinian, despite their feelings about Israel, is in support of slaughtering babies and things of this nature. So it’s important to say that….
“[But] we always should be vigilant about these threats. We share a border with Mexico. We know that there are people crossing that border that hold potential passports or documents that are not real. We know that Iran and other elements have long aspired to embed inside of our country sleeper cells that they can activate in a time of conflict to use as leverage against us. So we should always be vigilant about it.
“The greatest risk in my mind, based on everything I know, in the short to mid-term, is not some orchestrated effort by a 20 or 25 person hit squad. It is that 100 people hear that message, and one or two of them are inspired to carry out an attack, a lone wolf type attack. Those are very difficult to spot ahead of time and very difficult to disrupt. And we’ve had those things happen. We had a Saudi military pilot who was training alongside our soldiers in Northwest Florida who carried out such an attack at one of our air stations. We’ve seen these attacks in the past.
“To me, that really poses the greatest short-term, mid-term risk – the lone wolf attack – within our country, and in other parts of the world. That is not to say that there aren’t some more orchestrated attacks that are also a threat. But the one that I think is most immediate and most worrisome, because it’s the hardest to identify and disrupt, is the lone individual who is inspired by this to take action.
“If you’re willing to go out in public and celebrate and mock and laugh about the slaughter and the butchery of innocent people, innocent Jews, then that’s one just one step removed from saying, ‘I’m going to kill some Jews myself.’ That is very worrisome, and that’s hard to identify and spot ahead of time. That, to me, is the most immediate and prominent risk. Of course, there is always the risk of an organized effort, and that’s ongoing from multiple elements.”