The Israeli government will not stop its operation against the militant Hamas group anytime soon unless two specific goals are reached, Israeli Ambassador to the United States and to the United Nations Gilad Erdan warned Thursday.
"First of all, [we want] to teach the Hamas a lesson that they cannot continue to try, to indiscriminately try to murder our people," Erdan said on Newsmax TV's "Wake Up America."
He added that Israel also wants to restore its deterrence efforts "in a way that we will again restore calm in our region in the next few years, as it happened after Operation Protective Edge that we launched in 2014."
Erdan noted that his parents live in the border city of Ashkelon, Israel, a city that has been severely bombarded in the past few days.
"They have 30 to 60 seconds from when they hear a siren to get to a safe place," said Erdan. "This is the reality in the last few days of millions of Israelis. This is why we are not going to stop this operation before we will achieve the two main goals."
Democrats in the United States appear split over which side to support. President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that Israel "has the right to defend itself" and that he's spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, telling him that his " hope is that we will see this coming to a conclusion sooner than later."
Others, like Democrat Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., however, have spoken out loudly against Israel.
"First of all, let me start by saying we are in close coordination and I am having discussions every day with the administration," said Erdan, adding he was involved in the talks between Biden, Netanyahu, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Blinken also expressed his concerns regarding the barrage of rocket attacks on Israel, his condolences for the lives lost as a result, and the United States' strong support for Israel's right to defend itself, the State Department said, addingv he "emphasized the need for Israelis and Palestinians to be able to live in safety and security, as well as enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity, and democracy."
"We were encouraged by the fact that they highlighted Israel's right to defend itself, and they condemned Hamas," Erdan said. "They made a clear distinction between a vicious, jihadist organization and a vibrant democracy like Israel."
Even with people in Congress like Omar and Tlaib opposing Israel, Erdan said he does feel most members from both sides of the aisle strongly support Israel and its right to defend itself.
"From time to time, yes, you hear those voices of members of Congress that unfortunately do not understand the reality, the complexity of our region, so I feel sorry for them," said Erdan. "I hope that they will learn to support vibrant democracy, and not to support immoral, vicious terrorist organizations, but that's the reality and I feel that they do not represent the majority, even within the Democratic Party. Those voices do not represent the mainstream in the Democratic Party."
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