South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham Saturday pledged unwavering support to Israel in its conflicts with Hamas and Iran and vowed that the new Republican-controlled Congress would approve legislation to re-impose sanctions on Tehran should it not agree to limitations on its nuclear arsenal.
“The United States Congress, above all entities in America, has your back in a very bipartisan way,” Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu at a joint news conference in Jerusalem. “The Congress clearly sees the difference between the tactics of Hamas and the democracy called Israel, and the international community seems to be a bit confused.”
Graham said he agreed with Netanyahu that “the Hamas regime does everything they can to kill children,” while the Israeli Defense Forces “does everything they can to avoid killing Palestinian children.
“They fire rockets and hope they land in schools; you attack the enemy trying to avoid collateral damage to civilians,” the senator said.
He also praised the prime minister for his warning about Iran and its quest to obtain nuclear weapons: “Beware of the Iranians. They lie, they cheat. This regime for years has been deceiving the international community – and has been trying to pursue, in my view, a nuclear weapon.”
Graham added that while he backed the Obama administration’s efforts to “try to bring this to a peaceful conclusion,” he added that Netanyahu “above all others, has said that sanctions are what got Iran to the table, and it will be the only thing that brings them to a deal that we can all live with.”
The bipartisan Iran sanctions bill will be voted on next month, Graham told the prime minister.
“If Iran walks away from the table, sanctions will be re-imposed; if Iran cheats regarding any deal that we enter to the Iranians, sanctions will be re-imposed,” he said. “It is important to let the Iranians know that from an American point of view, sanctions are alive and well.
“Congress will pursue sanctions for the bigger,” Graham said.
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