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Lloyd Austin: No Proof of Israel Committing Genocide in Gaza

Lloyd Austin (Credits: CNN)

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated on Tuesday that there is no proof that Israel has committed genocide against Palestinians during the conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

Austin, alongside Defense Comptroller Mike McCord and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Gen. CQ Brown, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee to discuss the president’s 2025 budget request for the Pentagon.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators interrupted Austin multiple times while he was reading his opening statement. During questioning, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., asked Austin if Israel is engaging in genocide in Gaza.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (Credits: News Center Maine)

“We don’t have any evidence of genocide being committed,” replied Austin, before Cotton repeated his question. “We don’t have evidence of that, to my knowledge,” responded Austin.

Cotton praised Austin for his response, stating he performed better than CIA Director William Burns and National Intelligence Director Avril Haines did last month at the Intelligence Committee when they evaded that question.

Cotton then mentioned that Austin had been accused of “greenlighting genocide” and asked the secretary if he wished to respond to such allegations.

“What I would say, Sen. Cotton, from the very beginning, we committed to helping assist Israel in defending its territory and its people by providing security assistance,” said Austin, “and I would remind everybody that what happened on Oct. 7 was horrible.

Lloyd Austin (Credits: Business Recorder)

“Numbers of Israeli citizens killed, and then a couple of hundred Israeli citizens taken hostage … American citizens as well.” “So you deny the accusation that you greenlit genocide,” Cotton inquired. “I deny it,” affirmed Austin.

The Senate hearing marked the first occasion for lawmakers on both sides to question the Pentagon’s top civilian and military leadership on the administration’s Israel strategy following Tel Aviv’s deadly strike on World Central Kitchen humanitarian aid workers in Gaza.

The World Central Kitchen strike prompted a change in President Joe Biden’s stance on how Israel must protect civilian life in Gaza. It led dozens of House Democrats, including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to call on Biden to cease weapons transfers to Israel.

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