(WASHINGTON) — A Texas congressman is touting a proposed resolution in support of Israel that has gained widespread support on both sides of the aisle.
Rep. Michael McCaul, a Republican who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, spoke to ABC News on Wednesday about the bipartisan resolution and the possibility of passing a supplemental aid package to Israel once the House elects a new speaker.
“We have over 400 co-sponsors, which is almost unheard of. But it just shows our unity behind Israel and our condemnation of Hamas and this terror attack that occurred last Saturday. That’s very important that the American people, through their representatives, express this strong voice, you know, supporting Israel and condemning what Hamas has done,” McCaul said.
At least 1,200 people have died and 2,900 others have been injured in Israel after Hamas launched a surprise incursion from air, land and sea on Saturday, Israeli authorities said. Palestinian authorities said at least 1,100 people have died and another 5,339 have been injured in Gaza in the wake of retaliatory airstrikes launched by the Israel Defense Forces.
McCaul also said that efforts to rescue about 100 hostages in Gaza, which includes some Americans, should be the “highest priority.”
His full remarks are contained below:
EVA PILGRIM: So the Israeli defense minister ordered a complete siege of the Gaza Strip. You and about 400 of your colleagues introduced this legislation showing support for Israel. What’s in this bill?
McCAUL: Let me say first, this is one of those moments that where we come together as Americans — both Republicans, Democrats. The [committee’s] ranking member, [Rep. Gregory] Meeks, and I introduced — we’re going to introduce the bill today. We have over 400 co-sponsors, which is almost unheard of. But it just shows our unity behind Israel and our condemnation of Hamas and this terror attack that occurred last Saturday. That’s very important that the American people, through their representatives, express this strong voice, you know, supporting Israel and condemning what Hamas has done.
I got to tell you, the videos I’ve seen — I was in the kibbutz village just right on the border of Gaza last year meeting with the Jewish people there, seeing the day care center and then to find out it was overrun by 70 Hamas terrorists and almost all of the people there were slaughtered. But most inhumanely, the babies in the day care center were killed and many were beheaded. This is sheer terror, it’s evil, and it cannot stand.
GIO BENITEZ: Yeah, it’s just absolutely horrifying. And, of course, congressman, the intention of this bill is to support Israel right now. But you also, right now, don’t have a Speaker of the House. So, what can be done?
McCAUL: Well, I’m getting ready to walk over to our elections after this interview. I hope we have a speaker. We want to get this bill on the floor, and we’re looking at ways by unanimous consent to get it on the floor. And then we also need to look at a supplemental package for Israel. What they need right now is to replenish the Iron Dome with intercepts. We need to provide them precision-guided missile weapon systems and also ammunition. That’s what I’ve heard from the Israelis. That’s what we heard today from the administration in our classified briefing.
PILGRIM: We know Hamas has taken hostages, some of which are American. What’s being done at this point to get those people home?
McCAUL: So, as you see the bombings occur right now in Gaza, that’s to take out command and control. The next phase is going to be going house to house, not unlike Fallujah in 2004. This is going to be very dangerous, because they use hostages as shields, if you will. These are Americans held hostage. These are Jewish Israelis being held hostage. But we have a concerted effort, working with Israel, our special forces, our FBI hostage rescue team, to work with them, to rescue them. There are probably about 100 hostages right now in Gaza, and some of those are Americans. That has to be our highest priority.
BENITEZ: Yeah, we’re all praying for those hostages right now. Texas Congressman and Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael McCaul. Sir, thank you so much for joining us for this important conversation.
McCAUL: Thanks for having me. Thank you.
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