Rep. Garamendi says ‘ball is clearly in Israel’s court’ for response to Iran

Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) on Sunday argued any action Israel chooses to take in retaliation for Iran’s attack will ultimately be up to the country rather than the United States.

Asked on NewsNation’s “The Hill Sunday” over how President Biden will both constrain Iran’s escalation of the conflict and Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, Garamendi said, “Do it exactly as he’s doing it now. Be very, very clear about what is expected and not expected.”

“He’s [Biden] made it very clear, ‘I got to deal with the Gaza situation,’ which is an ongoing question of humanitarian issues there,” he continued. “All of these things are on his place. We’ll see what happens. The ball is clearly in Israel’s court. Hopefully they will act properly without escalation.”

All eyes are on Israel’s next moves after the country was attacked on Saturday by dozens of missiles and drones from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The attack was largely expected after an alleged Israeli airstrike hit the Iranian embassy in Syria and killed two senior IRGC officers.

The vast majority of the Iranian missiles and drones were intercepted by Israel’s air defense systems, with the assistance of allied forces.

President Biden cut his trip home to Delaware short in the wake of the attacks, returning to the White House on Saturday afternoon to consult with his national security team. He later spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and condemned the attacks “in the strongest possible terms.”

Israel’s plans for retaliation remain unclear and White House national security communications adviser John Kirby said Sunday it is “going to be up to” the Israelis to decide how it will move forward.

Axios on Sunday reported Biden told Netanyahu he will not support an Israeli counterattack on Iran.

Biden has been faced with the proposition of both supporting Israel’s right to defend itself and advocating for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The president offered his sharpest criticism of Netanyahu earlier this month after an Israeli air strike killed a group of aid workers. He warned U.S. policy on the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza would now be determined by “immediate” steps Israel needs to take to reduce an “unacceptable” humanitarian situation, making a notable change from Biden and his team since the war broke out last October.

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