Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL), a former member of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), dismissed the idea there are “innocent Palestinian civilians” in a debate on the House floor.
“I would encourage the other side to not so lightly throw around the idea of innocent Palestinian civilians, as frequently said,” Mast said on Wednesday. “I don’t think we would so lightly throw around the term ‘innocent Nazi civilians’ during World War II.”
Mast recently wore his IDF uniform on Capitol Hill, demonstrating his staunch support for Israel. “As the only member to serve with both the United States Army and the Israel Defense Forces, I will always stand with Israel,” he wrote on X in a post showing pictures of him in the uniform.
Mast made the comments about Palestinian civilians while the House was debating the Hamas International Financing Prevention Act, a bill that requires sanctions on alleged Hamas supporters. The bill requires presidential waivers to deliver humanitarian aid into Gaza and the West Bank, which will slow down deliveries of food, medicine, and other supplies to civilians.
The original version of the bill included a blanket exemption for humanitarian aid, but Mast added an amendment to require waivers. Mast made a similar argument about Palestinian civilians when adding the amendment to the bill during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing last month.
“Any assistance should be slowed down — any assistance,” Mast said. “Because I would challenge anybody in here to point to me, which Palestinian is Hamas, and which one is an innocent civilian? Which is the child that was poking other Israeli children?”
According to The Intercept, Mast was referring to a video that purportedly showed a Palestinian child poking an Israeli hostage in Gaza. “And which ones exactly are the innocent ones? … It should absolutely be every effort made to slow down any perceived assistance that’s going there.”
The Hamas International Financing Prevention Act passed the House in a vote of 363-46. Forty-five progressive Democrats voted no, and one Republican opposed the bill, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY).