Pentagon Hits the Brakes on Travel to Israel, Warns Congress

Pentagon Hits the Brakes on Travel to Israel, Warns Congress

( – Israel declared war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip on October 7 after a brutal terrorist attack. Since then, several politicians and military officials have traveled to the Middle Eastern nation. The Pentagon is now hitting the brakes on trips to the country.

On October 31, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin sent a letter to senior leadership at the Pentagon, according to a memo shared by Punchbowl News reporter Andrew Desiderio. He announced that he was restricting travel to Israel by members of the Department of Defense. The restrictions don’t apply to Joint Chiefs of Staff C.Q. Brown, President Joe Biden, the president’s Cabinet, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Christopher Grady, or other chiefs or service secretaries.

The memo also states that Austin is going to discourage the members of Congress and their staffs from visiting Israel at this time. He said he was instructing the Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs to inform congressional leadership that Department of Defense support would not be available for any travel made by members of Congress.

Lloyd’s memo came as the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) began a ground invasion of Gaza. The Biden Administration has asked Israel to pause its offensive in order to get aid to innocent civilians in the Gaza Strip. More than 10,000 people have died in Gaza since the conflict began, including thousands of kids and at least 89 aid workers, according to some reports.

Reuters reported United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Gaza “is becoming a graveyard for children.” Israel has also suffered losses of more than 1,400 people, most of whom were murdered on October 7 during the terrorist attack by Hamas terrorists.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to pause the war until Hamas releases 200+ hostages. The US State Department has issued a level 4 alert for Gaza, telling Americans not to travel to the roughly 140-square-mile territory. Israel and the West Bank are under level 3 advisories, meaning Americans are urged to reconsider travel to those regions.

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