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Mike Pence: Israel has ‘no choice but to invade Rafah’

Thought Leader: Mike Pence
April 1, 2024

Former vice president Mike Pence made the remarks at the annual Hertog Forum in Washington.

VP Pence Israel Remarks
Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at Stanford University’s Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, in Stanford, Calif.

Former Vice President Mike Pence backed a potential Israeli incursion into Rafah and called for the country to destroy Hamas amid growing pressure from the Biden administration and some congressional Democrats to seek a more surgical approach to taking the terror group’s final stronghold in southern Gaza.

Speaking at the Hudson Institute’s annual Hertog Forum on Monday evening, Pence took aim at the Biden administration and isolationists within the GOP for criticizing the war effort in Gaza. He also urged Israeli leaders to ignore the critiques and instead focus on taking out Hamas.

“Whatever position the current administration or voices in my own party take, here’s the reality: Israel has no choice but to invade Rafah and to hunt down and destroy Hamas once and for all,” Pence said. “The war should end when Israel’s military goals are achieved, and not a moment sooner. And I believe the American people will stand with Israel in that fight.”

“Instead of demanding arbitrary limitations on Israel’s military response, I believe our president should make it clear that Iran will pay a steep price if it continues to attempt to escalate the violence through its proxies in Gaza, Yemen, Lebanon and in Syria,” he added. “I welcome reports today that Israel struck an arms depot run by Hezbollah, on the outskirts of Damascus. And let me be clear, America should fully support Israel’s effort to secure her northern border from Hezbollah.”

The former vice president’s comments come as Israel faces increasing pressure from the Biden administration to seek alternatives to a full-scale invasion of Rafah, the southern Gazan city where some 1.3 million Palestinians have evacuated.

Scores of Democrats have called for a temporary cease-fire amid reports of starvation and disease outbreaks in the enclave, with some warning that a ground offensive in Rafah would lead to more suffering. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has maintained that going into Rafah is necessary to complete the IDF’s mission, while President Joe Biden has said he would not cut off military aid to Israel if Netanyahu goes through with an incursion as expected.

Pence also used his address to call on the president to impose a federal ban on laws promoting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement targeting Israel.

“When I was governor of Indiana, I became one of the first governors in America to stand up to the racist BDS movement. I signed a law taking tens of millions of dollars away from companies that were trying to harm Israel economically through boycotts,” Pence will say. “And in 2025, I strongly believe that the next president of the United States must fight for and sign a bill permanently banning antisemitic BDS laws nationwide.”

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