03:35 GMT20 June 2021
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    A number of US Republican lawmakers, including Senators Ted Cruz and Bill Hagerty, have visited Israel to personally assess damage caused by the 11-day hostilities between the Palestinian military movement Hamas and Tel Aviv.

    Republican Senator Ted Cruz claimed in an interview on Monday that US President Joe Biden has been too lenient on Israel’s enemies, which, according to the lawmaker, in part prompted the recent hostilities between Israel and Hamas.

    Speaking to the Associated Press in Jerusalem while traveling around Israel, Cruz said that Biden’s foreign policy has been “an absolute disaster.” He continued that “Biden has sent hundreds millions of dollars to the Palestinian authority and that emboldened Hamas,” claiming that “was a big part of the reason these rockets started coming as weakness invites attacks.”

    “The longer [US President] Joe Biden shows weakness to Hamas or Hezbollah or Iran, the more you're going to see terrorist attacks escalating,” Cruz stated, after a day of observing Israel's Iron Dome rocket-defense system and visiting Ashkelon, a city most affected by the bombing.

    Cruz, along with another GOP senator, Bill Hagerty, travelled in Israel on Sunday as part of an official visit "to hear and see firsthand what our Israeli allies need to defend themselves and to show the international community that we stand unequivocally with Israel."

    In early May, tensions between Palestinians and Tel Aviv escalated amid an Israeli court ruling to evict Arab families in East Jerusalem, which fueled the Palestinian riots. On 10 May, Gaza-based Hamas initiated missile strikes that were followed by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) air strikes.

    The military actions, which stopped on 21 May, as sides agreed to a ceasefire, have killed at least 277 people dead in Gaza, according to the Palestinian Health ministry, while 13 were reportedly killed in Israel, per the country’s military.

    Palestinians from Zawaraa family hold candles as they sit in a makeshift tent amid the rubble of their houses which were destroyed by Israeli air strikes during the Israeli-Palestinian fighting in Gaza May 25, 2021.
    © REUTERS / MOHAMMED SALEM
    Palestinians from Zawaraa family hold candles as they sit in a makeshift tent amid the rubble of their houses which were destroyed by Israeli air strikes during the Israeli-Palestinian fighting in Gaza May 25, 2021.

    According to the IDF, Hamas has launched nearly 4,360 rockets towards Israel, with 90 percent of them intercepted. Israeli reportedly performed at least 1500 air strikes in Gaza, according to the New York Times.

    The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Gaza Strip reported on the widespread damage caused by Israeli air strikes in the area, including at least 17,000 damaged residential and commercial units, ruined infrastructure and thousands of homeless civilians.

    According to AP, the Israeli military reported at least 146 buildings damaged by rockets, including civilian houses, schools, kindergartens and other infrastructure.

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    Tags:
    Biden, Hamas, Ted Cruz, Israel
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