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Conditions for aid to Israel would be ‘appropriate’ if the number of civilian casualties in Gaza does not decrease

Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., said Friday that it would be “appropriate” to condition future aid to Israel if Israeli leadership does not “do a better job” in preventing civilian deaths in Gaza.

“We never want to see innocent women, children and old people murdered. That’s happened here at a pretty high rate,” Kelly told NBC News’ “Meet the Press” in a pre-recorded interview that aired Sunday.

“I talked to the ambassador – Israeli Ambassador Michael Herzog – specifically about this: that if we don’t see some changes, I think it’s appropriate to put conditions on some of this aid,” Kelly added. weeks after both houses of Congress passed a foreign aid package that included $26 billion in aid to Israel.

“They’re getting more help,” Kelly said, but added that the Israeli military also needs more targeted munitions, such as “JDAM kits for the Mark 80 series weapons, the kind of weapon I used in the battle for Iraq . “

He added: “If we see the same number of civilian casualties (afterwards), that is a major concern of mine.”

Kelly linked his concerns about civilian casualties to growing concerns from aid groups around the world that humanitarian conditions in Gaza are becoming increasingly dire.

In a separate interview for “Meet the Press,” Cindy McCain, executive director of the World Food Program, told moderator Kristen Welker: “There is famine – outright famine – in the north (of Gaza), and it is moving its way south .’

Kelly, who said he “talks to McCain a lot about this,” said he will “keep talking about it and pushing Israelis to do better.” If they do better, this also offers the opportunity for more food aid to arrive.’

“If the Israelis can do better on the battlefield, reduce civilian casualties, make fewer mistakes – or the goal is no mistakes – in the way they carry this out, that would help ensure that food aid goes to the innocent Palestinians ”, he added. .

Welker also asked Kelly about the issue of abortion access in his state, where lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs had just repealed an 1864 abortion ban. Due to some quirks in Arizona state law, the ban may still be in effect for a while despite the repeal.

“I think women in Arizona have gone through a very difficult time,” Kelly told Welker before placing the blame for Arizona’s ban squarely on former women. President Donald Trump.

“It’s all because of him that women in the state of Arizona don’t have the rights they used to have,” Kelly said.

“What we really need is national legislation to codify women’s right to make these decisions,” Kelly added, before agreeing that he would support repealing the filibuster to codify abortion rights into federal law .

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, there has been no federal standard for abortions, but President Joe Biden has called for the standards set by Roe in 1973 to be codified. To do this, Democrats would have to win control of abortions. Senate and House of Representatives and elect Biden for a second term. Even then, very little legislation passes the Senate without the sixty votes needed to overcome a filibuster.

The chances of Democrats winning 60 seats in the Senate are slim to none, so the other alternative is for 50 senators to agree to make an exception to the filibuster for abortion legislation.

“I feel like we’re going to keep control of the Senate (after the election). And I think that on issues like these, whether it’s freedom of choice or voting rights, it’s appropriate to reconsider what we need to do to get those things. across the finish line,” the senator said.

Despite his confidence in retaining control of the upper chamber of Congress, Kelly said he was “very concerned” about the possibility that Trump could try to overturn the results of the presidential election if he overturns the Electoral College votes wouldn’t win in Arizona.

His comments came after the state’s attorney general last month charged several former Trump associates over their alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election there.

“I trust that our justice system will go through a process. And however this turns out, we all have to accept what that process entails,” Kelly said.

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