DeSantis to Send Drones, Weapons to Israel Ahead of Gaza Invasion
Governor Ron DeSantis announced Thursday that he is sending drones, body armor, weapons, and ammunition to Israel at the request of the country’s consul general in Miami. The supplies are set to arrive in Israel ahead of a planned invasion of the Gaza Strip following the deadly Oct. 7 attack by Hamas that left over 1,000 people dead.
The move marks the latest action taken by Florida to support Israel in the war against Hamas. Previously, the DeSantis administration has sent healthcare supplies and humanitarian aid, in addition to chartering several flights to retrieve Americans stranded in Israel after the attack.
“In consultation with the Israeli Consul General in Miami, cargo planes contracted by Florida were used to transport healthcare and hospital supplies, drones, body armor, and helmets that first responders can use,” DeSantis spokesman Jeremy Redfern said in a report by ‘Daily Mail.’
He clarified that the administration had coordinated with Consul General Maor Elbaz-Starinsky to send military equipment through “private parties,” adding that Israel did not purchase any weapons or ammunition.
“We also worked with the Consul General to help get clearance on flights sending weapons and ammunition to Israel through private parties… The state did not purchase these items…
The Israeli government contacted the governor’s office for assistance in transporting body armor and helmets. Since we were already sending supplies to Israel, Florida was able to include the body armor and helmets on our cargo flights,”
Ron DeSantis: "We're going to stand with Israel. We're not going to have troops involved… The best thing we can do is just be very clear in public and in private, you have a right to defend yourself. You have a right to eliminate this threat from your population." pic.twitter.com/f3cgxbcz8u
— Never Back Down (@NvrBackDown24) October 25, 2023
DeSantis has long been a vocal ally of Israel, having made two diplomatic visits to the country during his time as Governor. Since the outbreak of war with Hamas, he has been outspoken in his support for the country and highly critical of the Biden Administration’s handling of the conflict.
Earlier this month, DeSantis criticized Biden for approving $100 million in aid to Palestine, arguing that humanitarian resources would end up in the hands of Hamas and repurposed for Hamas’s military.
“Palestinian leadership is already bankrolling Hamas’ atrocities against Israel and Biden wants to send aid into Gaza that will further support terrorist activity,” DeSantis said. “As President, I wouldn’t send a single dollar into Gaza.”
He has additionally taken action to stem the rise of antisemitism following the attack. He has proposed canceling the visas of foreign students who advocate for Hamas. This week, he ordered the Florida university system to disband their student chapters of the radical group National Students for Justice in Palestine.
To all the DeSantis fans freaking out over DeSantis sending military equipment to Israel. FL taxpayers didn't pay for the equipment, Israel did. Please read articles fully before jumping to conclusions. pic.twitter.com/j5QDmOv3v0
— FreedomFanRichie (@FreedomfanR) October 26, 2023
In the same report, the White House commented on the transfer of military aid to Israel and said the DeSantis administration was not in conflict with the federal government.
“I would certainly let the governor speak to what Florida is doing. It is not illegal for the governor of a state to offer a measure of foreign assistance to another country. There are laws and regulations which govern how the export process is handled,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.
“And that’s all done through Commerce,” Kirby added. “I couldn’t speak with authority today about whether the Governor has checked all those boxes or not. You really should talk to him and his staff, but it’s not illegal for state governor to do that kind of thing.”
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