Congressman Jim Costa supports President Joe Biden’s plan to provide $100 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza, he told GV Wire in an exclusive Zoom interview from Washington, D.C.
The Fresno Democrat also objected to calls for a cease-fire between Israel and the terrorist group Hamas.
“I think that is part of an overall effort as far as supporting Israel’s effort to eliminate Hamas, a terrorist group whose only purpose is to eliminate the country of Israel,” Costa said Thursday about his support of the aid package.
Biden is scheduled to deliver a national address Thursday at 5 p.m. Pacific time. Biden is expected to ask for $100 billion in military assistance for Israel and Ukraine. The package will also include some money for Taiwan’s defense and for managing the flow of migrants at the southern border with Mexico, the Associated Press reported.
Costa also wants to see humanitarian relief in Armenia.
Costa said international groups like the Red Cross and the United Nations would ensure that the aid to Gaza is distributed to those in need and not intercepted by Hamas.
“If there is any evidence in which that aid, that’s mainly in the form of food and and and some water, it will be removed,” Costa said.
Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, who represents parts of Fresno, objected to the funding, during an interview with C-SPAN earlier Thursday.
“What is sheer lunacy is this nonsense of sending Hamas $100 million as the president has just proposed for humanitarian aid. That’s not going to go to the people of Gaza, that’s going to go to Hamas. You send humanitarian aid to your friends. You don’t send it to your enemies,” McClintock said.
What is sheer lunacy is this nonsense of sending Hamas $100 million as the president has just proposed. That’s not going to go to the people of Gaza – that’s going to go to Hamas. You send humanitarian aid to your friends. You don’t send it to your enemies. pic.twitter.com/zxMyztkLGp
— Tom McClintock (@RepMcClintock) October 19, 2023
No on Ceasefire
Costa said that Israel is “in a very difficult situation” when it comes to providing water and utilities to Gaza. He heavily criticized Hamas for its tactics, including using citizens as “human shields.”
Several Democratic members of Congress are pushing for a resolution for a cease-fire. Costa disagrees with that proposal.
We must legislate to save lives now. Calling for urgent de-escalation and facilitating a ceasefire is how we do it. I urge my colleagues to join me, @RepCori, @RepAndreCarson, @RepSummerLee, & @RepDeliaRamirez, in saving millions of lives. pic.twitter.com/JoBaWvzDGn
— Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (@RepRashida) October 16, 2023
“I don’t think a cease-fire is on the table at this time and I don’t think it can be until you root out the leaders of Hamas who are only trying to perpetrate more violence,” Costa said.
Costa says Iran is behind the latest war.
“Hamas and Hezbollah are proxies for the country of Iran, which is financing them over 90%. And it is Iran’s desire to be the influence or the power of having hegemony over the Middle Eastern region. And they are, of course, competitors of Saudi Arabia,” Costa said.
Costa said that several Arab countries have not been “willing to do their part to support the Palestinians and help them economically.”
That has allowed Hamas to fill that vacuum, Costa said.
Word from Fresno
Costa has heard from his constituents about the Israel-Hamas war. They are concerned about family members trapped in Gaza.
“That’s why we’re attempting to lead efforts to allow those who have dual citizenship, U.S. and Palestinian, to be able to get out of Gaza. And we have, it’s estimated, some 500 Americans that are in Gaza as well. So we’re trying to work every possible angle to provide opportunities for those folks to get out of the Gaza Strip,” Costa said.
Recent Protests Have Nothing in Common with Jan. 6: Costa
Costa said he was at a different part of the Capitol on Wednesday when pro-Palestinian demonstrations broke out at the Cannon House Office Building.
Some, such as Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene called the protests an “insurrection.” Some have called for similar punishment for the protesters as was received by those participating in the Jan. 6 Capital Riot.
Costa finds no similarity.
“Not at all. Not at all. The demonstrators on January 6th that I was here at the time, came to the Capitol with a deliberate plan that had been worked on for weeks,” Costa said. “Their purpose was to overthrow a fair and free election. And it was violent. And, there were a number of officers who lost their lives, over 100 that were injured and had to be hospitalized. I don’t think that’s a fair comparison at all.”