Assist for Gaza Refugees Creates a Flashpoint for DeSantis and Haley

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The deepening humanitarian disaster within the Gaza Strip is driving a wedge between Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley, two of the main Republican presidential candidates, who deviated sharply on Sunday over whether or not america ought to assist Palestinian refugees from the area forward of an anticipated Israeli invasion.

In an look on the CBS morning present “Face the Nation,” Mr. DeSantis, the Florida governor, doubled down on remarks he had made in the future earlier in Iowa, espousing a hard-line opposition towards serving to civilians who’ve been thrust into the center of the battle.

“They train children to hate Jews,” he mentioned. “The textbooks would not have Israel even on the map. They put together very younger children to commit terrorist assaults. So I feel it’s a poisonous tradition.”

Ms. Haley, the previous United Nations ambassador below President Donald J. Trump, pushed again in opposition to that view throughout a CNN interview on Sunday with Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”

“America has at all times been sympathetic to the truth that you may separate civilians from terrorists,” she mentioned after being proven a clip of Mr. DeSantis’s preliminary feedback on Saturday.

Almost a million individuals are grappling with shortages of meals, clear water and shelter in Gaza, which is bracing for a land invasion by Israel in retaliation for the Oct. 7 assaults and the taking of hostages by Hamas, an Iran-backed militant group.

Mr. DeSantis argued on Sunday that it might be detrimental to america to “import” giant numbers of refugees and would gasoline antisemitism, echoing feedback he made about folks in Gaza the day earlier than that drew scrutiny.

At a marketing campaign occasion on Saturday, Mr. Santis mentioned, “Should you take a look at how they behave, not all of them are Hamas, however they’re all antisemitic. None of them imagine in Israel’s proper to exist.”

He added: “The Arab states ought to be taking them. In case you have refugees, you don’t fly folks in and take them into america of America.”

When the CBS anchor Margaret Brennan identified to Mr. DeSantis that Arabs are Semites and replayed his remarks, he stood by his phrases.

“There was a whole lot of celebrating of these assaults within the Gaza Strip by a whole lot of these people who weren’t Hamas,” he mentioned.

Ms. Brennan urged that it was a distant chance that refugees from Gaza might resettle in america, saying that they might not even evacuate from their fast space. Nonetheless, Republicans have used the broader battle to border their postures on navy motion and humanitarian assist.

Within the Home, Representatives Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin and Andy Ogles of Tennessee, each Republicans, have introduced that they plan to introduce a bill they are saying would block the Biden administration from issuing visas to Palestinian passport holders.

Mr. DeSantis, who served within the Navy’s Choose Advocate Normal Corps in Iraq, was additionally requested whether or not he would advise the Israeli navy to cease their assaults on the infrastructure that gives water and electrical energy to Gaza.

“I don’t assume they’re below an obligation to be offering water and these utilities whereas the hostages are being held,” he mentioned.

Ms. Haley struck a extra sympathetic chord earlier on Sunday, saying that enormous percentages of Palestinians and Iranians didn’t help the violence being perpetrated in opposition to each other.

“There are such a lot of of those individuals who wish to be free from this terrorist rule,” she mentioned.

Whereas the Republican candidates have expressed solidarity with Israel within the wake of the Hamas assaults, they’ve additionally clashed with one another over who’s most loyal to Israel, America’s closest Center East ally, and what the function of america ought to be in conflicts abroad.

Ms. Haley on Sunday continued to sentence Mr. Trump, her former boss and the Republican front-runner, for referring to Hezbollah, the Iran-backed militant group, as “very good” whereas criticizing Israel’s prime minister and Israeli intelligence. She accused Mr. Trump of emboldening U.S. adversaries and drawing consideration to himself.

“You don’t go and praise any of them as a result of what that does is that makes America look weak,” she mentioned on CNN, including: “This isn’t about Trump. It’s not about him.”

A spokesman for the Trump marketing campaign didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Sunday.

Ms. Haley additionally leveled contemporary criticism towards President Biden, saying that he ought to by no means have agreed to unencumber $6 billion in frozen oil income cash for Iran for humanitarian functions as a part of a hostage launch deal that was introduced in August.

Dealing with blowback over the cash’s launch, the Biden administration and Qatar agreed final week to disclaim Iran entry to the funds, which White Home officers had mentioned had not been spent.

“You empowered Iran to go and strengthen Hamas, strengthen Hezbollah, strengthen the Houthis to unfold their terrorist exercise,” Ms. Haley mentioned.

The White Home didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Sunday.

Haley Johnson contributed reporting from Creston, Iowa.