In a strongly worded letter to President Biden on Monday, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) called on the Biden Administration to “use all appropriate US resources and tools” to secure the immediate evacuation of US citizens in Israel who are desperately trying to return home.
Smith’s letter comes as a follow-up to his request to State Department officials on Saturday for evacuation assistance.
“The dangers these US citizens face are so grave, and the responsibility of the US Government for their safety so paramount, that their evacuation must be the uppermost immediate priority of the US Government in Israel and the Middle East,” said Rep. Smith, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Co-Chair of the Israel Allies Caucus in Congress.
Smith said that the deep and close relationship between the United States and Israel, as well as the observance of the recent Sukkot holiday, has ensured that thousands of US citizens and dual US-Israeli citizens were in Israel with family and friends when Hamas initiated its terrorist attack on defenseless, innocent people in Israel.
“In the past thirty-six hours I have received many reports from constituents who are US citizens currently in Israel, or whose relatives and friends are US citizens currently in Israel, and who seek to return to the United States as soon as possible but are unable to do so,” Smith said.
“As you must be aware, most airlines have cancelled flights out of Israel, with little information about when they may resume,” said Smith. “Remaining flights do not suffice to evacuate the large number of US nationals in Israel, and the Administration should consider engaging or facilitating chartered flights to get our citizens home.”
Smith noted his strong support for Israel and American resolve to support Israel at this grievous time.
“Given the unprecedentedly savage nature of Hamas’s sneak attack—which included the abduction and threat to execute hostages, the systematic committing of unspeakable atrocities on civilians, and the threat that Iran or its proxies will trigger a general war in the region—we have an obligation to give Israel the support it needs to decisively defeat its terrorist enemies,” Smith continued.
“At the same time, you must move heaven and earth to get US citizens out from harm’s way,” Smith said. “Every American who is looking to return home must have the opportunity to do so. I look forward to your prompt response.”