While in Israel, US Senator Lindsey Graham said that the United States should consider Iran responsible if there is ever a massive missile attack on Israel from southern Lebanon. He also said that Congress should be giving more money to Israel’s missile defense program.

Netanyahu and the US officials

Netanyahu and the US officials Photo Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO

US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said on Thursday that the United States should hold Tehran, not its proxy force Hezbollah, accountable should there ever be a massive missile attack on Israel from southern Lebanon. Graham spoke at a press conference after he and several other senators meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

The Republican senator also called UNIFIL, the UN peace-keeping force in southern Lebanon, a “miserable failure” and said that he plans to urge Congress to allocate more funds for Israel’s missile defense program when he returns to Washington. “It is time for the American Congress to give more to Israel, not less,” he stated.

According to a statement released by Netanyahu’s office, the prime minister discussed the security challenges in the Middle East with the visiting US officials. In addition, he briefed them on Iran’s attempts to entrench itself in Syria and stressed that Israel is “determined to prevent this.”

“Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked the Senators and Representatives for the American support for Israel and welcomed President Trump’s decision to implement the law recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel,” the Prime Minister’s Office noted. “He added that bilateral relations were closer than ever.”

Earlier today, two US congressmen were briefly questioned by Israeli police after they took an olive branch from the Temple Mount. Initial reports claimed that congressmen Scott Tipton (R-Colorado) and David B. McKinley (R-West Virginia) were detained. The Israel Police denied these reports in an English-language statement: “The two congressmen and their wives visited the Temple Mount this morning after visiting the Old City yesterday. Police escorted them during the visit. Toward the end of the visit police asked them if they had removed anything from the site. The issue was quickly clarified and the congressman [sic] continued their visit according to plan.”

“They were not detained or arrested,” the Israel Police stressed. However, Israel Police foreign press spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld reportedly told TPS that the incident was slightly more serious. “When they left the site, the Congressmen – who are in their 60s and 70s – were physically pulled aside and held outside the police station,” Rosenfeld said. “Police repeatedly told them in Hebrew that they could not go as they were ‘detained.’ At least one was frisked and made to empty his pockets.”

According to reports, the congressmen spoke about the incident with Netanyahu, who apologized and said that it should have never happened.