Ron DeSantis Camp Walks Back Claims of Israel Assistance – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ press secretary walked back an earlier statement claiming the Governor’s office had worked with private parties to “get weapons and ammunition to Israel” in the aftermath of the October 7th attacks.
The initial statement alleged the Governor’s office had contracted cargo planes to fly over “healthcare and hospital supplies, drones, body armor, and helmets that first responders can use,” as well as “[helping to] get weapons and ammunition to Israel through private parties.”
This statement raised many questions about the role of a state government in foreign policy and the legality of such weapons shipments which are often closely monitored and strictly controlled.
Israeli Consul-General Speaks Out
The claims came under scrutiny when Israel’s Consul General Maor Elbaz-Starinsky spoke to Reuters about the alleged shipments.
He said “I am not aware and would find it very, very bizarre to think that somebody is procuring weapons and sending it to Israel. This is not how we work. And certainly not privately funded.”
These comments were echoed by opposition leaders in Florida who called out DeSantis for running a parallel foreign policy.
In the aftermath of the comments by Elbar-Starinsky, the governor’s press secretary Jeremy Redfern, put out a statement saying, “[the governor’s office] was contacted by the Consul General’s office for assistance to clear federal bureaucratic hurdles associated with getting those items to Israel.”
It is unclear what exactly DeSantis did as the days immediately following the attack were quite chaotic, with multiple agencies and individuals in the U.S. and Israel communicating about aid.
DeSantis has long touted his unwavering support for the Jewish state, calling for sanctions on Iran and using a special Florida state disaster fund to help pay for flights that brought back around 700 Americans who were stuck in Israel post-October 7th.
Tehran supports, funds and trains Hamas fighters, as well as many other regional proxy groups that frequently carry out attacks targeting both Israeli and American assets in the Middle East.
Situation in Israel
Since the attacks on October 7th, Israel has carried out an intensive bombardment of Gaza with both airstrikes and artillery as it strives to eliminate the Hamas terror group.
The IDF has amassed many of the 360,000 reservists it activated along the Gaza border in preparation for a ground invasion.
Now, three weeks after the devastating terror attack, it seems as though the IDF is finally ready to commence its full-scale invasion to “eliminate Hamas by destroying its military and governance capabilities and to do everything possible to get our hostages back.”
It is unclear what a victory in this sense will look like as the IDF will have to fight through the densely urbanized area and clear hundreds of miles of tunnels.
The obliteration of Hamas, however, is essential for the preservation of the world’s sole Jewish state.
Meanwhile, negotiations to free the over 200 hostages, including ten Americans, held by Hamas are ongoing. The U.S. is working closely with Israel, Egypt, and other Arab nations to free these individuals as well as provide humanitarian relief to civilians in Gaza.
Senior Israeli officials believe that the rumors of progress in these hostage negotiations are not reality. Hamas, according to the IDF, is dragging out negotiations in order to delay Israel from fully invading Gaza in an expected all-out ground incursion.
At least 222 individuals, including babies, the elderly and severely wounded, remain in captivity beneath Gaza City in Hamas’s underground network of tunnels. Only four hostages have been released since October 7, including an American-Israeli mother and daughter and two elderly Israeli women.
Maya Carlin, a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, is an analyst with the Center for Security Policy and a former Anna Sobol Levy Fellow at IDC Herzliya in Israel. She has by-lines in many publications, including The National Interest, Jerusalem Post, and Times of Israel. You can follow her on Twitter: @MayaCarlin.
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