(TheLastPatriotNews.com) – In a bizarre move that seems designed to crack down on Republican criticism of how the Biden administration has failed to aid Israel and help stranded Americans, the US Defense Department has stopped flights for Congress members wishing to visit the US ally recently attacked by terrorists.
On October 7, the Palestinian Islamist terrorists from Hamas and Islamic Jihad brutally slaughtered over 1,400 people in Israel, among them 30 Americans, while also kidnapping over 240 others.
The Pentagon has decided to halt the flights it coordinates for members of Congress and high-ranking DOD officials to Israel, as per a recent memo from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, National Review reports.
The directive, dated October 31, restricts for the moment the travel of Pentagon’s senior leaders to Israel, a development first reported by Punchbowl News.
Austin’s memo requires that any high-level DOD personnel must now seek clearance from either himself or the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman for travel authorization.
Defense Department typically endorses foreign travel for its congressional members and high-ranking officers. However, Austin explicitly advises against such movements to Israel that necessitate Pentagon assistance.
“I further discourage visits to Israel requiring DOD support by members of Congress and their staffs,” the secretary writes, mandating the Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs to relay that to Congress.
“DOD support to congressional delegation visits will be unavailable to Israel during this period, and no DOD support shall be made available for congressional travel to Israel without my approval,” Austin declared.
Despite this suspension, the President and Vice President are exempt and will continue to receive flight support.
“These restrictions also do not apply to travel by the Secretary of Defense, Deputy Secretary of Defense, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, Vice Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretaries of the Military Departments, or Service Chiefs,” clarifies the memo.
This policy emerges as Israeli forces intensify their military operations against Hamas through ground assaults and persistent airstrikes.
Although the conflict has primarily involved Israeli and Hamas forces, there is concern that other countries and terrorist groups in the region might escalate the situation.
Since October 7, Hezbollah, another Iran-backed Islamist terrorist group, has engaged in skirmishes with Israeli forces along the Lebanon-Israel border, but its leader has stopped short of initiating a full-scale conflict.