DeSantis Orders Rescue of Americans Stranded in Israel, Blasts ‘Failed’ Biden Response
Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday issued an executive order to immediately begin rescue operations in Israel and bring home the roughly 20,000 Americans stranded in the war-torn country. The order–which came after another lapse in effort by the Biden administration–officially establishes a state of emergency and directs the Florida Division of Emergency Management to start evacuating citizens from Israel.
The war has resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths, including 1,200 Israelis and 27 Americans.
“Today, Governor Ron DeSantis signed Executive Order 23-208,” a statement from the Governor’s office said.
“There are more than 20,000 Americans, including Floridians, in Israel who wish to return home but are unable to do so. This Executive Order allows the State of Florida to carry out logistical, rescue and evacuation operations to keep its residents safe. Specifically, this order enables the Florida Division of Emergency Management to bring Floridians home and transport necessary supplies to Israel.”
Today I signed an executive order authorizing rescue operations in Israel to bring Floridians home and transport supplies to our allies.
We will not leave our residents behind.
To the many Floridians who are stuck in Israel, trying to get home — help is on the way.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) October 12, 2023
DeSantis has pledged to charter flights to retrieve the stranded Americans. According to the Governor, those Americans waiting to return home include Floridians from “nearly every” Florida congressional delegation. The executive order was issued following reports that American citizens were being kept in the dark by the U.S. State Department.
“Floridians stranded in Israel are requesting help from the Executive Office of the Governor and from nearly every member of Florida’s congressional delegation, because they are not receiving timely assistance from the U.S. Embassy in Israel and are not receiving any follow-up after enrolling in the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program,”
The letter from DeSantis noted the Biden administration’s delayed response compared to other countries, who quickly mobilized efforts to retrieve their stranded citizens.
“Unlike the governments of other countries, the Biden administration has failed to launch any form of rescue or evacuation operations for Americans, including Floridians, stranded in the region, and has failed to provide information requested by the State of Florida about any plans for such operations…”
Meanwhile, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said earlier this week that the White House was still “exploring” options.
“We’re in active touch with American citizens in Israel, many of them are dual nationalities… there are still commercial carriers flying in and out, and there are viable ground routes.”
According to Kirby, the White House considered “neither” option “feasible or affordable.”
“So we are exploring a range of other options to assist if Americans want to leave, I’m just not at liberty to go into that.”
Wheels up! https://t.co/29tLJTIMQ3
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantis) October 12, 2023
According to the White House, at least 27 American citizens were killed in the conflict, with 14 reported missing.
Florida Republican Congressman Cory Mills traveled to Israel after the initial attack and rescued 32 stranded Americans. He similarly helped evacuate Americans following the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021.
“We will not leave our residents behind,” DeSantis posted on the social media platform X. “To the many Floridians who are stuck in Israel, trying to get home — help is on the way.”
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