WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism, on Sunday joined CNN’s State of the Union with Dana Bash to discuss the State Department's report to Congress on Israel's compliance with National Security Memorandum (NSM-20) and the war in Israel and Gaza:

On President Biden’s decision to pause aid to Israel if it invades Rafah, Murphy said: “I do support President Biden's decision, and let me tell you why. President Biden is learning the mistakes of US military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. What we learned in both of those efforts was that you cannot defeat a terrorist ideology. You cannot defeat a terrorist movement with military force alone. In Afghanistan, we spent 20 years there. And ultimately, we were so cavalier about civilian casualties that we made the Taliban stronger, and we ultimately lost that engagement to the Taliban. And so in Israel, what Joe Biden is telling the Israelis is we will be partners with you, but you have to understand that the pace of civilian casualties, the amount of humanitarian disaster there is in the long run going to make Hamas stronger, is going to make it more likely that Israel will be attacked again, and is going to make other terrorist organizations that have designs to attack the United States stronger. So we will be partners in this fight, but in the situation of Rafah, we cannot have a military invasion of Rafah that ends up in tens of thousands of additional civilians dying. That would be bad for Israel from a moral and a strategic standpoint.”

Murphy continued: “We have no obligation to write a blank check of military support to any of our allies. We have a right as a sovereign nation with our own independent security concerns to make sure that when we are partnering with an ally that we are partnering with a winning strategy. Our own national security experts tell us that this moment will have a generational impact on the growth of terrorism around the globe. I want Hamas gone, I don't want them to ever have the ability to hit Israel again. I worry that the number of civilians that are dying are ultimately going to provide permanent recruiting material to Hamas, and Hamas will remain a threat for years to come to Israel.”

On the State Department's report to Congress on Israel's compliance with National Security Memorandum (NSM-20), Murphy said: “Listen, I think the report could have gone further. But it does, I think, accurately explain the complexity of this war. And let's just also be clear about that. Yes, I believe that there have been some very disastrous decisions on proportionality made by the Israeli military. If there's one Hamas fighter in an apartment building, it is not worth it to kill 50 innocent civilians. But it is also true, as my friend Senator Vance said, that Hamas is hiding itself inside civilian populations. They are hiding themselves in hospitals, inside schools. There's no doubt that this war could end tomorrow if Hamas surrendered. If Hamas really cares about the people of Gaza, they could decide to end this war right now, there's a ceasefire proposal on the table that they could accept. So I am certainly willing to call out Israel when I think that they have made strategic and moral mistakes in this war, but a lot of the focus here tends to be on Israel, when we should be calling out Hamas for the attacks that began this war, the way in which they have violated the rules of engagement. And the fact that the quickest route to end this war is for Hamas, to surrender and protect the people of Gaza.”

Murphy highlighted President Biden’s leadership in this moment: “I think, frankly, when you're being a good leader, you are often upsetting people on the right and the left. And so President Biden advertised himself when he ran for office as someone who would often play it down the middle, who would not pay attention to the extremes of the debate and would just do what he thought was right for the country, and what the broad middle of the country wants. And I actually think that's where the broad middle of the country is. I think the broad middle of the country wants to support Israel's ability to destroy Hamas, but is very concerned about the fact that there are so many kids dying, that for the last week, there's been almost no humanitarian assistance getting into Gaza. I think the President really is squarely where the middle of this country is on this on this conflict.”