Mar 24 2015

Graham Speaks About Status of US-Israel Relationship

Contact: Kevin Bishop (864) 250-1417 or Lorcan Connick (202) 224-5972

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) spoke on the Senate floor last night about President Obama's White House Chief of Staff calling the Israeli presence in the West Bank an ‘occupation.'

On Saturday, Graham spoke by telephone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and congratulated him on his recent electoral victory and discussed the ‘unbreakable bonds' between the United States and Israel.


On the Security of Israel:

On Israel as an ‘Occupying' Power:

  • "The language used by the Chief of Staff of the President of the United States is exactly what Hamas uses. So now our administration is taking up the language of a terrorist organization to describe our friends in Israel. Here is a question to the American people: Would you withdraw from the West Bank, given the situation that exists today on the ground between the Israelis and the rest of the region? Would you at this moment in Israel's history completely withdraw from the West Bank, given the experience in Gaza?" -

On Prospects for a Two-State Solution:

  • "I talked with the Prime Minister [Netanyahu] Saturday and I congratulated him on a decisive victory and I look forward to working with him. He told me very clearly that he believes a two-state solution is not possible as long as the Palestinian Authority embraces Hamas, which controls the Gaza strip and is a terrorist organization by any reasonable definition. Who do you make peace with, Mr. President? What kind of deal can you make when almost half the Palestinian people are in the hands of a terrorist organization who vow to destroy you every day? What kind of deal is that?

  • "Do I want a two-state solution? Yes, I would like a two-state solution, where the Palestinians recognize the right of Israel to exist and they have the ability to chart their own destiny. They are not anywhere near there. The Palestinian community is broken into two parts. The Hamas terrorist organization controls the essential part of the Palestinian community. They will not recognize Israel's right to exist. They are using the territory they hold as a launching pad for attacks against Israel routinely. These are the people who launch rockets from schoolyards and apartment buildings trying to blame Israel for being the bad guy when they respond." -

On the Iranian People ‘Speaking Out' in Favor of a Nuclear Deal:

  • "So, Mr. McDonough, President Obama, you are completely delusional about the world as it is. You are negotiating with an Iranian regime, and in the President's New Year's greeting he called on the Iranian people to speak out in support of a nuclear deal. Mr. President, don't you understand that in Iran you can't speak out; that if you do speak out and petition your government you can get shot or put in jail? You don't understand that? You are talking to people as if they have a voice. You are talking about the regime as if they are some kind of rational actor. In that same New Year's greeting, the President complimented the regime, headed up by the Ayatollahs, as being cooperative in terms of their nuclear negotiations with the P5+1. What the President didn't mention is that this very regime that is spreading terror, unlike at any time in recent memory, is involved in the toppling of four Arab capitals. They are wreaking havoc on the neighborhood. As we are negotiating on their nuclear deal, they are still the largest state sponsor of terrorism. They called for death to America 2 days ago." -

On the Current Status of US-Israel Relations:

  • "So when I thought it couldn't get any worse, it has. Let me put the Obama administration on notice. You may not like the fact that Prime Minister Netanyahu won, but he did, and here is what you need to understand. If you are recalculating the administration's support for Israel in terms of how you handle resolutions in the United Nations, you need to understand that Congress will recalculate how we relate to the United Nations if you stand on the sidelines and let the U.N. take over the peace process. -

  • "So I say to the Obama administration: Israel is not the problem. The Israeli people have not killed one American soldier. The Israeli people are in a dispute about their survival with the Palestinian people. The Israeli people gave land to the Palestinians, and in return they got 10,000 rockets, and you want them to do it again. Can't you understand why Israel may not want to withdraw from the West Bank given the history of Gaza? If you can't, you are completely blind to the world as it is, and your hatred and your disgust and your disdain for the Prime Minister has clouded your judgment." -