Three days into Israel’s war against Hamas, Israel’s government says at least 900 Israeli citizens have been killed, while it’s believed that at least 500 Palestinians have been killed. Thousands are wounded and as many as 150 hostages taken by Hamas are thought to still be missing, including some Americans.
Rep. Adam Smith, ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, spoke with Scripps News about how the U.S. will respond to the 3-day-old war.
The House of Representatives is without a permanent speaker right now, but Smith says “That doesn’t mean that we can’t function. The Biden Administration has been quick to respond and clear in their message. We are working with Israel and other partners in the region to contain the conflict and move forward with the policy.”
“The policy has three main components,” Smith told Scripps News. “One, help Israel as it defends itself against the terrorist organization Hamas. Two, work with partners and allies to contain the conflict so it doesn’t spread. And three, protect U.S. interests in the region. And at the top of that list is getting any Americans held hostage back.”
Monday the U.S. announced new support for its ally Israel was underway, as it sends munitions and other resources. Rep. Smith said additional support was likely, though it would need approval from U.S. lawmakers.
“Resources are not infinite, either in terms of weapons or in terms of funds,” Smith said. “But we have the capacity and the resources to help both Israel and Ukraine, and meet our national security needs. Now we’ve got to navigate that through Congress. We need a supplemental funding package to meet those national security needs.”
“There is strong bipartisan support for that. We certainly have bipartisan support in the Senate. There’s over 300 votes in the House. But former Speaker [Kevin] McCarthy simply refused to bring that up for a vote and give us that opportunity. Now he’s gone, the Israel situation has happened. I hope that motivates to to bring that package to the floor in the House and the Senate so we can meet pressing national security needs.”