Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed an executive order to provide planes to evacuate tens of thousands of Americans stuck in Israel as a result of a deadly terrorist attack carried out by Islamic militant group Hamas.
An estimated 20,000 U.S. citizens are in Israel seeking a way out since commercial flights to the area have been suspended.
DeSantis declared a state of emergency, given that many of the stranded Americans are Floridians, and said that he has ordered the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) to prepare evacuation operations.
FDEM will be arranging for chartered flights for Floridians currently in Israel. The department will also be sending supplies.
In his executive order, DeSantis says the action is needed because “the Biden Administration has failed to launch any form of rescue or evacuation operations for Americans, including Floridians, stranded in the region, and has failed to provide information requested by the State of Florida about any plans for such operations.”
President Joe Biden has been slow to publicly detail a coherent rescue plan. The administration received sharp criticism this week for telling Americans in Israel that if they wanted to be relocated by the federal government, they would have to pay for their own evacuation.
The State Department issued a memo advising that any rescuees would be required to sign a promissory note obligating them to reimburse the government for the rescue.
“We will not leave our residents behind,” DeSantis declared in a social media post on Oct. 12, the day he signed the order. “To the many Floridians who are stuck in Israel, trying to get home — help is on the way.”
Today I signed an executive order authorizing rescue operations in Israel to bring Floridians home and transport supplies to our allies.
We will not leave our residents behind.
To the many Floridians who are stuck in Israel, trying to get home — help is on the way.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) October 12, 2023
DeSantis is not the only public official stepping up to the plate as the federal government mulls over a course of action.
Earlier in the week, Rep. Cory Mills, a Florida Republican lawmaker, evacuated 32 Americans from Israel.
Mills, an Iraq war veteran who also rescued Americans stuck in Afghanistan after the U.S. pullout in 2021, said during an interview, “If I have to do Joe Biden’s job, then so be it.”