Senators Urge Biden to Continue Diplomacy for Gaza Hostages and Ceasefire

The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has resulted in hundreds of civilian casualties and a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. A group of 25 U.S. senators, led by Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock, have written a letter to President Biden, expressing their support for his diplomatic efforts to secure the release of Hamas-held hostages and restore a mutual ceasefire in the region.

Hostages and Ceasefire Linked to Humanitarian Aid

The senators praised the U.S. role in brokering an agreement in November 2023, which led to the release of 105 hostages, mostly women and children, in exchange for a seven-day ceasefire and the delivery of vital humanitarian aid to Gaza. They urged the president to continue the negotiations until all the remaining hostages, including Americans and Israelis, are freed and a lasting ceasefire is achieved.

The senators recognized that it is in Israel’s vital national interest that Hamas, a brutal terrorist organization, be removed from power in Gaza. They also acknowledged that without a break in the fighting, humanitarian conditions for civilians in Gaza will become even more catastrophic and thousands more innocents, including many children, will die.

The letter stated: “In our judgment, it is in our urgent national interest – and the urgent humanitarian interest of millions of innocent civilians — that these negotiations succeed.”

Senators Call for Specific Steps to Save Lives in Gaza

The senators also called for specific steps to save civilian lives in Gaza, such as:

  • Providing immediate access to humanitarian aid, including food, water, and medical supplies
  • Delivering lifesaving fuel to hospitals and water treatment facilities
  • Funding the United Nation’s $294 million emergency appeal
  • Supporting the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Gaza’s infrastructure and economy
  • Promoting the reconciliation and empowerment of the Palestinian Authority in Gaza

Senators Urge Biden

The letter emphasized: “We believe that the United States has a moral obligation and a strategic interest to help alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people and to advance the cause of peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians.”

Senators Express Solidarity with Israel and Hope for Peace

The senators expressed their solidarity with Israel, reaffirming its right to defend itself against Hamas’ rocket attacks and tunnel infiltrations. They also condemned the antisemitic violence and rhetoric that has erupted in the U.S. and around the world in response to the conflict.

The letter concluded: “We stand with you, Mr. President, in your steadfast commitment to Israel’s security and well-being, and in your pursuit of a just and lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

The letter was signed by Senators Mark Warner, Jack Reed, Patty Murray, Dick Durbin, Jeanne Shaheen, Jeff Merkley, Michael Bennet, Tammy Baldwin, Chris Murphy, Mazie Hirono, Martin Heinrich, Angus King, Tim Kaine, Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey, Cory Booker, Chris Van Hollen, Tammy Duckworth, Tina Smith, Mark Kelly, Ben Ray Lujan, Peter Welch, John Hickenlooper, and the two leaders, Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock.

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