Florida Governor DeSantis Sends Weapons and Supplies to Israel in Support of Campaign and Evacuation Efforts

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has arranged for a significant amount of weapons and supplies to be delivered to Israel in its conflict with the Hamas terrorist group. This move is seen as a continuation of DeSantis’ support for Israel as he runs his 2024 U.S. presidential election campaign.[0] The supplies sent to Israel include drones, body armor, helmets, and health supplies, all of which are being delivered by cargo planes.[1] In addition, Florida is working through private groups to provide weapons and ammunition to Israel, as requested by Israel’s consul general in Miami.[2]

The office of Governor DeSantis has stated that they arranged to fly the supplies to Israel using state-contracted cargo planes. The cargo flights carried not only medical supplies, clothing items, hygiene products, and children’s toys but also equipment that could be used in response to the ongoing conflict.[3] The Israeli government procured the equipment and asked the state of Florida for help in transporting it overseas.[3] Two cargo planes carrying 85 pallets of donated supplies have already arrived in Tel Aviv, Israel.[4]

The involvement of contractors in these operations has raised some concerns. The Israeli mission involves the participation of one contractor responsible for migrant flights.[5] The contractor, ARS/Global Emergency Management, has been issued purchase orders totaling $49.64 million to provide “wet flights” for the Israeli rescue missions. They have invoiced the state about $19 million so far for these missions, including the costs of hotel stays, food, and other expenses, in addition to the planes, crews, and fuel.

However, there have been reports of inefficiencies and problems with the contractors. Nearly two dozen Americans fleeing Israel with the help of Governor DeSantis’ administration were stranded for days in Cyprus due to the contractors’ inefficiency.[6] The contractors were competing with each other for charters, driving up prices and causing confusion.[6] The contractors were criticized for their lack of experience and knowledge in handling such operations. The head of an international rescue organization, who partnered with Florida on the missions, stated that the contractors didn’t know what they were doing.[6]

Despite these challenges, the State Department has also been involved in chartering flights out of Ben Gurion Airport to evacuate Americans from the conflict zone.[6] They have offered 5,000 seats and have already evacuated at least 1,500 people.[0] The State Department emphasized the difficulty of evacuating people from a war zone but stated that they are focused on bringing Americans home.[0]

In conclusion, Governor Ron DeSantis’ support for Israel continues as he arranges for significant weapons and supplies to be delivered to the country. While there have been challenges and criticisms regarding the contractors involved, efforts are being made to evacuate Americans from the conflict zone with the assistance of the State Department. The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas remains a complex and pressing issue, with various stakeholders working to address the humanitarian and security concerns.

0. “DeSantis’ Israel rescue operation left Americans stranded on Cyprus” Tampa Bay Times, 20 Oct. 2023, https://www.tampabay.com/news/florida-politics/2023/10/20/desantis-israel-rescue-operation-left-americans-stranded-cyprus/

1. “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Arranges to Send Israel Helmets, Body Armor, Drones” The Wall Street Journal, 27 Oct. 2023, https://www.wsj.com/livecoverage/israel-hamas-war-palestinians-news/card/florida-gov-ron-desantis-sends-body-armor-drones-to-israel-Tas79zBnlqnhT0ZLd6KL

2. “DeSantis arranges weapons to be sent to Israel amid 2024 campaign” Colorado Springs Gazette, 26 Oct. 2023, https://gazette.com/news/wex/desantis-arranges-weapons-to-be-sent-to-israel-amid-2024-campaign/article_5b3430c1-dc44-5cd7-be76-7dc8d6c4a712.html

3. “Florida cargo flights arranged by DeSantis carried drones and body armor for Israel” CNN, 26 Oct. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/10/26/politics/florida-flights-desantis-israel-drones/index.html

4. “DeSantis: 700 Americans flown back to Florida from Israel” WPTV News Channel 5 West Palm, 24 Oct. 2023, https://www.wptv.com/news/state/gov-ron-desantis-says-700-americans-flown-back-to-florida-on-4-flights-from-israel

5. “Florida OKs up to $50 million to contractor providing DeSantis Israel flights” Orlando Sentinel, 24 Oct. 2023, https://www.orlandosentinel.com/2023/10/24/florida-allocates-50-million-to-contractor-providing-desantis-israel-flights/

6. “Ron DeSantis’ Israel rescue operation stranded Americans in Cyprus for days” Florida Politics, 20 Oct. 2023, https://floridapolitics.com/archives/640598-ron-desantis-israel-rescue-operation-stranded-americans-in-cyprus-for-days/

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