DeSantis Asserts U.S. Should Reject Palestinian Refugees from Gaza, Citing Antisemitism Concerns

by Lucas Garcia
Ron DeSantis Palestinian refugees

Republican presidential aspirant Ron DeSantis has articulated that the United States should abstain from admitting Palestinian refugees fleeing the Gaza Strip, alleging they are “uniformly antisemitic.” This stance diverges markedly from the conventional positions held by U.S. policymakers, including those within his own party, who typically differentiate between the objectives of the Palestinian populace and the actions of Hamas. The extremist organization has governed Gaza since 2007 and initiated a recent offensive against Israel.

DeSantis justifies his hard-line approach, one that is increasingly characterizing his presidential campaign, by suggesting that withholding essential services like water could coerce Hamas into releasing captives. “Israelis and Americans are held hostage. There is no incumbent obligation to supply water and other utilities while these hostages are detained. Conversations can commence only after their release,” DeSantis elaborated during an interview with CBS’s “Face The Nation.”

Various international organizations, including the United Nations, humanitarian agencies, and Israeli human rights groups, have implored Israel to permit the supply of water and emergency fuel to Gaza. Medical professionals in the area have raised alarms that the scarcity of these vital resources could lead to a humanitarian crisis, potentially costing thousands of lives.

The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has already resulted in more than 3,600 casualties. DeSantis’s remarks highlight his adoption of a strongly conservative rhetoric as he aims to position himself as a formidable challenger to former President Donald Trump, the current frontrunner for the Republican nomination in 2024.

DeSantis first unveiled his views on rejecting Palestinian refugees during a campaign event in Iowa, reiterating that such individuals are “inherently antisemitic.”

In contrast, Nikki Haley, former U.N. Ambassador and a fellow GOP candidate, emphasized on CNN’s “State of the Union” that many Palestinians aspire to break free from what they consider terrorist rule. “The United States has traditionally shown empathy toward the view that civilians can be distinguished from terrorists. This is the course of action we should adopt,” she stated.

Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Michael Herzog, further differentiated between Palestinians and Hamas in his statements. “Hamas is our adversary, not the Palestinian citizens or innocent civilians,” he conveyed on CNN.

In defense of his comments, DeSantis reiterated his belief that admitting refugees from Gaza would be detrimental to the United States. “The populace in Gaza elected Hamas. While not all are members, the electoral choice cannot be ignored,” he commented. He went on to describe what he termed as “a corrosive culture” in Gaza, cautioning that accepting a large number of refugees could exacerbate antisemitic and anti-American sentiments domestically.

DeSantis has been proactive in displaying his focus on the Israel-Hamas conflict. Last week, he authorized an executive order enabling the Florida Division of Emergency Management to organize flights for Floridians stranded in Israel, as well as to dispatch necessary supplies to the country.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Ron DeSantis Palestinian refugees

What is Ron DeSantis’s stance on admitting Palestinian refugees from Gaza into the U.S.?

Ron DeSantis, a Republican presidential candidate, has stated that the United States should not admit any Palestinian refugees from the Gaza Strip. He attributes this position to concerns that these refugees are “uniformly antisemitic.”

How does DeSantis’s viewpoint differ from traditional U.S. policy?

DeSantis’s stance is a significant departure from conventional U.S. policy, which generally seeks to differentiate between the Palestinian populace and extremist groups like Hamas. Many U.S. policymakers, including some Republicans, have traditionally been more nuanced in their approach to this issue.

What rationale does DeSantis provide for withholding utilities from Gaza?

DeSantis argues that withholding essential services like water could pressure Hamas into releasing hostages, both Israeli and American. He contends that there is no obligation for Israel to provide such utilities while hostages are being held.

What has been the international response to the humanitarian situation in Gaza?

Various organizations, including the United Nations and Israeli human rights groups, have called on Israel to allow the delivery of water and emergency fuel to Gaza. Medical experts in the region have warned that the absence of these basic resources could lead to a humanitarian crisis.

How do other political figures view the issue of Palestinian refugees?

Nikki Haley, former U.N. Ambassador and a fellow Republican candidate, emphasized that many Palestinians aspire to break free from what they consider to be terrorist rule. Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Herzog, also made distinctions between Hamas and the Palestinian people, stating that Hamas is the adversary, not innocent civilians.

What measures has DeSantis taken to focus on the Israel-Hamas conflict?

Last week, DeSantis authorized an executive order for the Florida Division of Emergency Management to charter flights for Floridians stranded in Israel and to send necessary supplies to the country.

What are the potential political implications of DeSantis’s stance?

DeSantis’s hard-line views may position him as a strong conservative contender in the 2024 presidential race. However, his stance is also likely to attract scrutiny and criticism, especially from those who advocate a more nuanced approach to the Israel-Palestine issue.

More about Ron DeSantis Palestinian refugees

  • Ron DeSantis on CBS’s “Face The Nation”
  • United Nations’ Appeal for Humanitarian Aid to Gaza
  • Nikki Haley’s Comments on CNN’s “State of the Union”
  • Michael Herzog’s Interview on CNN
  • Florida Division of Emergency Management Executive Order
  • Overview of Israel-Hamas Conflict
  • History of U.S. Policy on Palestinian Refugees

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John Doe October 16, 2023 - 12:25 am

Wow, DeSantis really taking a hard line here. wonder how this will play out for his presidential run. It’s a risky move for sure.

Mike O'Brien October 16, 2023 - 10:26 am

I can see his point about not wanting to increase anti-American or antisemitic sentiment but theres got to be a better way to handle this.

Emily Smith October 16, 2023 - 12:07 pm

I can’t believe he’s suggesting to withhold water and utilities. That’s like, against human rights or something. Is this the type of leader we want?

Laura Williams October 16, 2023 - 4:52 pm

Exec order to help Floridians in Israel but what about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza? seems a bit one-sided to me.

Samantha Lee October 16, 2023 - 4:55 pm

Nikki Haley seems more reasonable here. It’s important to separate civilians from terrorists. DeSantis is just lumping everyone together.

Robert Johnson October 16, 2023 - 6:34 pm

Interesting to see DeSantis try to differentiate himself from other Republicans. But this stance, i dunno, seems pretty extreme to me.


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