House Democrat says US-Israel relationship ‘ironclad,’ but discussions should be ‘in private’

Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) claimed that the U.S.-Israel relationship is “ironclad” amid tensions over Gaza, but suggested that “communication” between the two countries regarding Rafah should be done “behind closed doors.”

Wasserman-Schultz reaffirmed that Biden has “stood steadfastly” behind Israel following the Oct. 7 terrorist attack by Hamas on the south of the country that killed around 1,200 Israelis.

But regarding his administration’s decision to hold back some weapons to Israel last week as the country plans to push ahead with a full-scale incursion in Rafah, the south Gaza city where over a million Palestinians are sheltering, the Florida Democrat argued there is “a problem of imprecision in the communication from the president.”

Biden said earlier this week he would withhold some weapons from Israel if its forces plow ahead with the invasion of Rafah.

“What he said the other day left the impression that from my conversations with the White House in the last couple of days, were not quite what the way it came across,” Wasserman-Schultz said during her Friday appearance on MSNBC.

“The president has said that the White House is communicating to Israel that the 2,500-pound dumb bombs, the ones that land and result in widespread impact, that those are not appropriate for the engagement and involvement that Israel plans in Rafah,” she said while adding that the White House has not received a plan from Israel on how to safely evacuate civilians in Rafah before performing the military operation.

She said that discourse between the U.S. and Israel ought to be done “in private.”

“We shouldn’t be having this debate publicly because we have a close enough relationship with Israel to have these kinds of conversations behind closed doors,” she said on MSNBC.

Wasserman-Schultz was one of the 26 House Democrats who signed the letter, addressed to White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, pushing back on the president’s decision to halt heavy weapons to Tel Aviv.

“We are deeply concerned about the message the Administration is sending to Hamas and other Iranian-backed terrorist proxies by withholding weapons shipments to Israel, during a critical moment in the negotiations,” the letter said.

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