Lindsey Graham
Lindsey GrahamReuters/Yuri Gripas/ABACAPRESS.COM

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) warned on Sunday that, should the Biden administration follow through on its threat to stall US military aid for Israel, the White House would be "rewarding the tactics of Hamas to put civilians at risk."

Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," Graham said that "it's impossible to mitigate civilian deaths in Gaza as long as Hamas uses their own population as human shields."

"I've never seen in the history of warfare such blatant efforts by an enemy, Hamas, to put civilians at risk. And the last thing you want to do is reward this behavior. They put weapons in mosques. They fire artillery rounds from apartment buildings. They put command centers under hospitals to maximize civilian casualties as Israel tries to destroy the terrorist group," Graham said.

"Americans should be all in and helping Israel against an existential threat. The one thing Israel and America has in common," he said. "Hamas would attack us if they could. Iran is the largest state sponsor of terrorism that shouts ‘Death to America, ’and Hezbollah is in the same camp. I've never heard anybody in Israel chant 'Death to America.' The people Israel is fighting are bent on destroying all of the Jews.”

Graham continued, “This is Holocaust Remembrance Month, for God's sake. We should unequivocally support Israel. Yes. Work with them to limit civilian casualties. They want to do that. I know they do. They have a whole battalion dedicated to that. But this idea of worth holding weapons to Israel is rewarding the tactics of Hamas to put civilians at risk."

Turning directly to the Biden administration, Graham urged it to "sit down with Israel, keep the weapons flowing and work out a plan, if you can."

His comments come days after President Joe Biden warned that he would halt shipments of American weapons to Israel if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu orders a major invasion of the city of Rafah.

Biden’s warning followed confirmation from a US official that the US had paused a shipment of bombs to Israel last week over concerns that Israel was approaching a decision on launching a full-scale assault on Rafah.

Biden’s comments, made in an interview with CNN on Wednesday, were criticized not only in the Republican Party but also within Biden’s Democratic Party.

In addition, Israeli-American billionaire and Democratic megadonor Haim Saban on Thursday sent a personal letter to Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, in which he protested the decision to stop arms shipments to Israel.

Saban called the move to freeze the weapons shipments a "bad, bad, bad decision on all levels and urged Biden to reconsider.