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Mark Warner, Tim Kaine on Israel, Gaza: ‘It’s extraordinarily complicated’

Chris Graham
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U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine thinks it is important that Israel, in its response to the Oct. 7 terror attacks by Hamas, “take the battle to the perpetrators, but not to those who aren’t perpetrators.”

“Gaza is not the same as Hamas. An awful lot of Palestinians, an awful lot of people who live in Gaza, they’re not Hamas, they hate Hamas, they’re victimized by Hamas, they’re essentially kind of held hostage in Gaza by Hamas. And so you need to make sure that the battle is going against those who mean you harm, but take all the steps necessary to minimize consequences to those who aren’t the perpetrators of this attack,” Kaine, D-Va., told reporters in a Thursday conference call.

The death toll from the terror attacks by Hamas is past the 1,200 mark. The UN is estimating the death toll from Israel military operations aimed at decimating the Hamas regime in Gaza at more than 4,200.

On top of the death toll, more than 1 million Palestinians in Gaza have been displaced amid calls worldwide for a cease fire to allow in humanitarian aid.

The U.S. is facing political fire for the move on Thursday to block a UN Security Council cease-fire resolution, saying it couldn’t support the resolution because it didn’t mention Israel’s right to self-defense.

This is among the many tough needles to thread as the conflict seems poised to escalate into a wider regional crisis.

“It’s extraordinarily complicated,” said U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in a separate conference call with reporters on Thursday.

Just in terms of the focus on humanitarian aid, Warner said, that “involves Israel and involves Egypt, but also whether we like it or not, it involves Hamas, since they control Gaza, and the UN relief group that interacts with Hamas.

“We have to get the aid in, at the same time making sure weapons are not smuggled in, and the UN group needs to make sure the assistance doesn’t fall into the hands of Hamas,” Warner said.

That’s been an issue for years in Gaza, which has been run administratively by the political wing of Hamas since the last elections in the territory, way back in 2006.

The long run of political power for Hamas has not been to the benefit of the residents of Gaza, which has a per-capita income at $3,700 per year, and a staggering 45 percent unemployment rate, according to the World Bank, and was among the more economically disadvantaged territories on the planet before the onset of war in the past two weeks.

“The need for humanitarian aid to come into Gaza is key,” Kaine said, “so that those residents who are not part of Hamas do not fall into just a kind of a descending whirlpool of hunger, malnutrition, cholera, other diseases, and this is very tough, it’s hard to, it’s hard to be in a war zone and fight a battle and at the same time minimize collateral damage to innocent civilians.

“But that’s what laws of war require, and that’s what civilized nations do, and the president and Israeli leaders talk significantly about that. I think that’s very important,” Kaine said.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].