Nearly 30 Senate Democrats call for cease-fire between Israel and Hamas
A group of 29 Democratic senators — and separately, one Republican — are calling for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hamas as the fighting between the two continues to intensify.
In a statement released Sunday night, freshman Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) and 28 other Senate Democrats urged that both parties immediately stand down “to prevent any further loss of civilian life and to prevent further escalation of conflict in Israel and the Palestinian territories.”
The other lawmakers who signed on to the statement include Sens. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Tom Carper of Delaware, Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin of Illinois, Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico, Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner of Virginia, independent Angus King of Maine (who caucuses with the Democrats), Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith of Minnesota, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Patty Murray of Washington, Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Jon Tester of Montana, Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Raphael Warnock of Georgia.
In his capacity as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, Murphy released an additional statement with his GOP counterpart, Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.), calling for a cease-fire.
“Israel has the right to defend itself from Hamas’ rocket attacks, in a manner proportionate with the threat its citizens are facing. As a result of Hamas’ rocket attacks and Israel’s response, both sides must recognize that too many lives have been lost and must not escalate the conflict further,” the two said, adding that they were “encouraged” by reports of cease-fire discussions.
The White House did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment on the matter.
Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the body, having added his name to Ossoff’s statement is significant, though noticeably absent from the list is Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
Schumer, a major supporter of Israel, has maintained that the Israel Defense Forces has been acting within its right to defend itself through military action and thus, has not called for a cease-fire.
His view is one that has been echoed by President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
US Secretary of State Tony Blinken stood firm while speaking in Copenhagen on Monday about the Biden administration’s position on the matter, noting that the United States stood ready to help with establishing a cease-fire — if that was what both sides wanted.
In all of these engagements we have made clear that we are prepared to lend our support and good offices to the parties should they seek a cease-fire,” the United States’ top diplomat noted.
“Any diplomatic initiative that advances that prospect is something that we’ll support,” he continued. “And we are again willing and ready to do that. But ultimately it is up to the parties to make clear that they want to pursue a cease-fire.”
He went on to add that he welcomed efforts by the UN for achieving a cease-fire.
Tel Aviv came under a barrage of 130 rockets launched by Hamas from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, sending residents fleeing for shelter as air raid sirens blared across Israel’s second-largest city.
Israel’s Iron Dome defense system was activated later that night, with the streaks of multiple interceptor missiles lighting up the skies over the area.
The heavy bombardment came after an Israeli strike earlier that evening that leveled a high-rise building in Gaza that housed the offices of several top Hamas officials. That strike had come in retaliation for earlier Hamas aggression.
Both sides had been firing at each other throughout the day, in some of the worst fighting between Israel and the terror group since their 2014 war.
In the week since, Israel has deployed ground troops to the Gaza Strip and both sides have continued firing hundreds of rockets.
Nearly 200 Palestinians have been killed so far in Gaza, including 58 children and several dozen women.
At least 1,230 people have been wounded.