Palestinian-Israeli conflict intensifies 44 Republican senators call on Biden to hold Iran accountable

On May 11, 2021, Israel launched an air strike on a building in the Hanadi area of the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

Palestinian-Israeli tensions continue to escalate with continued rocket attacks on Israeli cities and towns, as well as extensive Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. On Thursday (13), 44 Republican U.S. senators urged President Joe Biden to side with Israel and stop granting sanctions waivers to Iran, which funds the Palestinian extremist group Hamas.

The 44 Republican senators, led by Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, sent a letter to Biden on Thursday asking him to immediately end the ongoing Iranian nuclear talks. In the letter, they wrote: “In light of …… Hamas’ recent attacks on Israel, the United States should take all necessary steps to hold Tehran accountable, and under no circumstances should Iran be granted a sanctions waiver.”

The Biden administration had promised to lift some sanctions on Iran if it agreed to return to the nuclear deal. But Rubio and other Republican lawmakers noted that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei recently tweeted that the Palestinians should “use the tools at their disposal” to attack Israel. In a subsequent tweet, Khamenei added that the Palestinians “must increase their strength, stand strong, confront the enemy and force them to stop their crimes.

Khamenei also referred to Israel as a “despotic regime” and said it is not a legitimate state.

In their letter to Biden, the Republican senators said, “Aggressive U.S. negotiations with Iran and a possible multi-billion dollar sanctions waiver will undoubtedly help Iran support Hamas and other terrorist groups that attack Americans and our allies.” The senators strongly called on Biden to immediately end nuclear negotiations with Iran and made it clear that no sanctions relief for Iran would be offered.

On Friday, a sustained barrage of 1,500 Palestinian rockets was fired at Israel, followed by extensive Israeli air strikes that opened fire on a Palestinian subway tunnel in Gaza.

“Tonight we began destroying government targets in the Gaza Strip, such as the central bank and internal security buildings.” IDF spokesman Brig. Gen. Hidai Zilberman said.

Although the conflict is in its fifth day and shows no signs of abating, Israeli ground forces conducted only a 40-minute offensive Friday and no troops have yet entered the Gaza Strip.