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'I've Never Said That Before!' Top Democrat Now In Favor Of Putting Conditions on U.S. Aid to Israel

“I’ve never said that before! I’ve never been here before. I’ve been a strong supporter of Israel the whole time I’ve served in Congress.”

Sen. Chris Coons (D-DL) told CNN on Thursday that he now believes that, for the first time in his career, it is necessary to place conditions on military aid to Israel in order to ensure additional protections for civilians in Gaza.

“You’ve had words with Benjamin Netanyahu. The president has had words with Benjamin Netanyahu. At what point does the policy change? Do you support a change in policy instead of a carrot, instead of words, a stick up saying to Israel that in order to get military aid, you have to change your tact? When does that happen?” asked CNN’s Sara Sidner.

“I think we’re at that point. I think we’re at the point where President Biden has said and I have said and others have said, if Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister, were to order the IDF into Rafah at scale, they were to drop thousand pound bombs and send in a battalion to go after Hamas and make no provision for civilians or for humanitarian aid, that I would vote to condition aid to Israel,” Coons said, adding:

I’ve never said that before! I’ve never been here before. I’ve been a strong supporter of Israel the whole time I’ve served in Congress. We just appropriated another $3.3 billion of support in the last appropriations bill we did. The challenge is to make it clear that we support the Israeli people, that we want to and will continue to have a strong and close relationship with Israel, but that the tactics by which the current prime minister is making these decisions don’t reflect the best values of Israel or of the United States.

“So things have gotten so bad. For the first time you were saying, yes, we will put conditions on military aid?” Sidner followed up.

“I’m speaking for myself,” Coons clarified, as Sidner pressed for an answer noting, “For yourself.”

“If they continue with large-scale military operations in Rafah without making any provision for civilians now to continue fighting Hamas, taking targeted raids, small counterterrorism or special forces raids, I think that’s an acceptable part of continuing their campaign against Hamas,” answered Coons, concluding:

But the IDF can bring humanitarian relief in through the north of Gaza. They just demonstrated this two, three weeks ago by escorting in convoys of trucks through a new opening in the very northern security perimeter of Gaza. It is the far north of Gaza, where the IDF has the most control, where there is the most famine and there is the most urgency. I think we can move forward if we see real seriousness about addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, as well as the security crisis that Israel continues to face.

Watch the clip above via CNN.

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