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14 Democratic senators call for short-term 'cessation of hostilities' in Gaza

A group of 14 Democratic senators is calling for a short-term “cessation of hostilities” in Gaza.

“The failure to adequately protect non-combatant civilians risks dramatic escalation of the conflict in the region and imposes severe damage on prospects for peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians,” reads a statement released late Thursday by senators including Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). 

“Based on the consensus opinion of U.S. and international aid officials, it is nearly impossible to deliver sufficient humanitarian aid to protect civilian life under current conditions,” the senators added. “Thus, we join President Biden in his call for a short-term cessation of hostilities that pose high-risk to civilians, aid workers or humanitarian aid delivery in Gaza[.]”

The group calling for a short-term “cessation of hostilities” also includes Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin (Ill.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), Peter Welch (Vt.), Tim Kaine (Va.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Chris Van Hollen (Md.), Tina Smith (Minn.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.). 

President Biden said Wednesday that he thinks that a “pause” is needed in the fighting between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. 

“I think we need a pause. A pause means give time to get the prisoners out,” Biden said.

“I’m the guy that convinced Bibi to call for a cease-fire to let the prisoners out. I’m the guy that talked to Sisi to convince him to open the door,” Biden added, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The White House said it would consider a “humanitarian pause” for aid to be allowed into Gaza leading up to Biden’s Wednesday statement. It has pushed back against a cease-fire, however. 

Durbin earlier Thursday called for a cease-fire contingent on the release of hostages taken by Hamas.

“At least in the context of both sides agreeing. For example, the release of those kidnapped should be part of this — immediate release. That should be the beginning of it,” Durbin said. “An effort should be made to engage in conversation between the Israelis and Palestinians.”

Updated at 9:52 a.m. ET

Source: The Hill

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